In a ruling that broadens the scope of the Family and Medical Leave Act, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the statute’s retaliation provisions may be invoked by workers who claim they were fired for merely asking permission to take a leave and cannot be limited to those who actually exercised the right.

“It would be patently absurd if an employer who wished to punish an employee for taking FMLA leave could avoid liability simply by firing the employee before the leave begins,” U.S. Circuit Judge Thomas Hardiman wrote in Erdman v. Nationwide Insurance Co.

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