Category Archives: FMLA

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Alleged comments by HR director sufficient to defeat company’s motion for summary judgment.

Remarks by a law firm’s human resources director could be “direct evidence” of pregnancy discrimination and violation of the FMLA, according to the 7th U.S. District Court of Appeals. According to the court, such evidence falls outside of the “hearsay” objection that might otherwise keep it from being presented to a jury. Makowski v. SmithAmundsen … Continue Reading

To invoke FMLA protection for care of another, some geographic proximity is required by the employee.

In an unpublished opinion, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has held that an individual who requests FMLA leave to care for a seriously ill family member must have some role in providing the “care” required by the relative’s illness. According to the Fifth Circuit, a father who left his seriously injured daughter in … Continue Reading

Insufficient medical information justifies refusal of FMLA leave.

The federal regulations that support the Family and Medical Leave Act require that an employee submit to his or her employer certain medical facts within the knowledge of the employee’s health care provider, including information related to the incapacitation, examination, or treatment that may be required by a health care provider. The 9th U.S. Circuit … Continue Reading

Employee’s failure to respond to phone calls from employer regarding his request for FMLA leave precludes a claim against employer under that Act.

Most employers recognize that the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) prohibits them from denying, restraining, or interfering with an employee’s rights to qualified leave. Last week’s Update addressed a situation in which an employer’s frequent phone calls to the employee asking when she would return to work while she was on FMLA leave may … Continue Reading

Employer’s frequent calls to employee during FMLA may create interference with that leave.

Under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), an employer is prohibited from denying, restraining, or interfering with an employee’s rights to qualified leave. One federal court recently found that an employer’s frequent phone calls to the employee asking when she would return to work while she was on FMLA leave may have interfered with … Continue Reading

Employer can require compliance with call-in policy, even during FMLA leave.

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has held that an employee who was fired for repeatedly violating her employer’s call-in policy cannot proceed with her lawsuit under the FMLA. Thompson v. CenturyTel of Central Arkansas,LLC, 8th Cir, No. 09-3602, December 3, 2010. Loretta Thompson began working for CenturyTel, a telecommunications company, in 2003. In … Continue Reading

Employer should allow certification period to expire before taking adverse action based on employee’s failure to provide FMLA medical certification.

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has held that an employer must wait until the expiration of the medical certification period in order to deny FMLA leave to an employee. Branham v. Gannett Satellite Information Network, Inc., 6th Cir., No. 09-6149, September 2, 2010. Deborah Branham filed suit against her employer, The Dickson Herald, … Continue Reading

Termination for poor performance discussed prior to FMLA leave does not support retaliation claim.

The Family and Medical Leave Act prohibits employers from discriminating against employees who have taken leave under that Act. However, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed summary judgment in favor of an employer who terminated an individual for excessive absenteeism and performance issues that developed prior to that employee’s request for FMLA … Continue Reading

FMLA amended to expand available time for leave related to family members in the Armed Forces.

On October 28, 2009, President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which includes provisions that expand the military leave entitlements of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) by expanding both the “qualifying exigency” leave and military caregiver leave that became effective in January 2008. Prior to these new amendments, an eligible employee … Continue Reading

Employee’s alteration of healthcare provider’s form may invalidate FMLA application.

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) entitles eligible employees to 12 weeks of leave during a 12-month period under certain circumstances which include a “serious medical condition.” An employer is allowed, under the regulations associated with the FMLA, to require an employee to document his or her medical condition, and further may require the … Continue Reading

FMLA allows an employer to base termination on performance problems discovered during an employee’s leave.

The Family and Medical Leave Act allows individuals to take unpaid leave from work and requires that in most cases, such individuals be returned to their prior position or an equivalent one upon return from the leave. The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has clarified that requirement, and has held that when an employer … Continue Reading
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