How to Prove Medical Leave Retaliation in a Wrongful Termination Case

Medical leave retaliation is a serious issue that can significantly impact an employee’s career and well-being. When an employee takes medical leave and faces retaliation upon their return, it can lead to wrongful termination. Proving such a case requires a strategic approach, supported by strong evidence and legal expertise. This article provides a comprehensive guide on how to prove medical leave retaliation in a wrongful termination case, especially in Los Angeles, where Rager & Yoon, employment lawyers, offer specialized services.

Understanding Medical Leave Retaliation

Medical leave retaliation occurs when an employer takes adverse action against an employee for taking medical leave. This can include demotion, reduction in hours, unwarranted disciplinary actions, or termination. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and California Family Rights Act (CFRA) provide protections for employees taking medical leave, ensuring they can return to their position or an equivalent one.

Key Elements to Prove Medical Leave Retaliation

To build a strong case for medical leave retaliation in a wrongful termination lawsuit, several critical elements must be demonstrated:

1. Eligibility for Medical Leave

First, it must be established that the employee was eligible for medical leave under FMLA or CFRA. This typically means the employee worked for the employer for at least 12 months and clocked a minimum of 1,250 hours during that period.

2. Taking of Medical Leave

Evidence that the employee actually took medical leave and provided appropriate notice to the employer is crucial. Documentation such as leave approval forms, medical certificates, and email correspondence can substantiate this point.

3. Adverse Employment Action

The next step is to show that the employee faced adverse employment action upon returning from medical leave. This can be demonstrated through termination letters, pay stubs indicating a demotion or pay cut, or other relevant documents.

4. Causal Connection

A causal connection must be established between the medical leave and the adverse action. Temporal proximity, or the closeness in time between the leave and the adverse action, can be a strong indicator. Additionally, evidence of negative comments or actions by the employer related to the medical leave can further support this connection.

Collecting Evidence for Medical Leave Retaliation

1. Documentation

Maintain comprehensive records of all communications with the employer regarding medical leave. This includes emails, letters, and any official documents related to the leave request and approval.

2. Witness Testimonies

Colleagues or other employees who witnessed the retaliation or heard comments from supervisors can provide valuable testimonies. Their statements can corroborate the claim of retaliation.

3. Performance Reviews

Compare performance reviews and evaluations before and after the medical leave. A sudden drop in performance ratings post-leave, without justifiable reasons, can indicate retaliation.

4. Employment Records

Employment records showing changes in job status, pay, or position immediately following the return from leave can serve as critical evidence.

Legal Support and Representation

Navigating a medical leave retaliation case requires expert legal support. Wrongful termination lawyer in Los Angeles, such as those at Rager & Yoon, specialize in employment law and can provide the necessary guidance and representation. They can help gather evidence, build a strong case, and advocate on behalf of the employee.


Proving medical leave retaliation in a wrongful termination case involves demonstrating eligibility for medical leave, taking the leave, facing adverse employment actions, and establishing a causal connection between the leave and the adverse action. Thorough documentation, witness testimonies, performance reviews, and employment records are essential in building a strong case. Seeking legal support from experienced wrongful termination lawyers in Los Angeles can significantly enhance the chances of a successful outcome. If faced with medical leave retaliation, employees should take action promptly to protect their rights and seek justice.


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