The FMLA does not afford an employee relief for technical violations of the Act absent proof that the employee was harmed by the employer's violation. To demonstrate harm, an employee is not required to prove monetary damages. However, they must be able to demonstrate some harm as a result of the violation.
In Demers v. Adams Homes of Northwest Florida, Inc., No. 08-13044, 2009 U.S. App. LEXIS 5844 (11th Cir. March 20, 2009) the employer violated the FMLA by denying the employee leave. The employee was unable to articulate any harm suffered as a result of the denial. In sustaining the award of summary judgment to the employer, the Eleventh Circuit observed that the FMLA does not entitle a plaintiff to recover for technical infractions of the FMLA absent damages.
Comment: To maintain a viable civil suit an employee must be able to demonstrate some harm or prejudice resulted from the FMLA violation. The prejudice need not result in a monetary loss to the employee, but it might. For example, the employee may have been required to use paid leave rather than unpaid FMLA leave for the absence. Or the employee may have been subject to a cancellation fee for a missed medical appointment. Absent prejudice, the employee's FMLA claim, even if the employer technically violated the FMLA, will likely be dismissed.