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In Virginia, councilman wants to end ex-fire chief's FMLA pay

Under federal law, most workers have the right to take 12 weeks of job-protected leave for the birth or the adoption of a child, a medical issue, or to care for a sick child, spouse or parent, among a couple of additional situations. Often, employers do not realize the rights that employees have under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act, and they sometimes wrongly deny this right.

In Portsmouth, Virginia, an FMLA issue is currently been raised regarding the former fire chief. A councilman has asked the city council to end the pay the former chief is receiving during an FMLA leave.

The chief resigned in July, but was scheduled to remain on the city's payroll until October due to an FMLA leave. Under FMLA law, these leaves can be unpaid, however many places of employment have policies to provide wages for all or part of such a leave.

At issue is reportedly the fact that the ex-fire chief has not provided a reason for his leave. A news report states that the city requires employees to provide their reason for taking an FMLA leave in a resignation letter.

The councilman would like the payroll to cease unless the city's manager can explain why the former worker is being paid for the leave.

While we do not know all of the details of this case, it is possible that the ex-fire chief did provide the city's human resources department with the proper documentation before taking the FMLA leave. Because this may contain medical information, this documentation may not be available for public view, thus the councilman has not see proof himself of the reasoning behind the paid leave, but FMLA is typically handled by HR departments as this involves personal information.

Of course, we do not yet know the facts of this case, but when workers' FMLA rights are violated, they are often wise to seek legal counsel.

Source:, "Moody wants ex-fire chief pay to end," Mila Mimica, Sept. 25, 2012

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