Tondalaya Evans' employer, Books-A-Million, unlawfully interfered with her rights under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) by requiring Evans to work at home for two months following the birth of a child. But the employer paid Evans for this work. When Evans was later fired, she pleaded a claim under the FMLA, which the district court, (Hon. C. Lynwood Smith of the Northern District of Alabama) threw out on summary judgment, explaining "because the plaintiff cannot establish that she suffered any loss of income, she cannot state an FMLA claim." The Eleventh Circuit reversed this glaring and obvious error in Evans v. Books-A-Million, No 13-10054 (August 8, 2014).
The FMLA provides explicity for two (distinct) categories of remedies: (1) "damages" including compensation, benefits and other monetary losses; and, (2) such equitable relief as may be appropriate including employment, reinstatement and promotion. Equitable relief being a specific remedy and Evans having pleaded it as a remedy, the Eleventh Circuit easily concluded:
It is clear to us that, in order to prove that she was "prejudiced" by an FMLA violation, a plaintiff such as Evans need only demonstrate some harm remediable by either "damages" or "equitable relief."