After FMLA Case Lost, Conflicting Statements Sink Employee’s Jobless Benefits Claim

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What happens when an employee doesn’t return from Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave and later requests unemployment benefits? The Arkansas Court of Appeals recently addressed the issue.


Rachel Hourston worked for Goodwill Industries as a part-time customer service clerk from January 2017 to April 2020. In December 2019, she was diagnosed with cancer and began undergoing treatment. She requested and was granted FMLA leave through April 10, 2020, at which time her eligibility would be exhausted.

During the same time, Hourston worked as a self-employed cosmetologist. After her cancer treatment ended in December, she

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