Joining five of its sister circuits, the Fourth Circuit rules today, April 27, that the Family and Medical Leave Act does not give employees an absolute right to be reinstated to their former positions (or their equivalent) upon return.  Today’s ruling is Yashenko v. Harrah’s NC Casino .  While the Act does specify that an employee is entitled to be returned to his former position or its equivalent, it also provides that the employee doesn’t get any more rights than those he would have been entitled to if he had never taken the leave.

So what’s the issue?  It’s this: If the employer can show that it would have fired the employee anyway, then the latter language means the employee can’t get his job back.  That’s what the Fourth Circuit concludes today, in affirming a ruling out of the Western District of North Carolina.