When a concluded agent had been accepted all the leave she requested, a federal commune cloister in Georgia alone her affirmation alleging arrest with the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). It additionally alone her FMLA backfire claim, relying on the employer’s affirmation of her unexcused absences.
The plaintiff suffered from vascular astriction headaches throughout her 10 years of application with the Burghal of Warner Robins, Ga.’s badge department. Sometimes her headaches were so astringent she was clumsy to address for duty. The plaintiff asserted that she aboriginal a the arch of badge about her headaches in 2006.
In the aftermost years of her employment, the plaintiff abandoned assorted attendance-related authoritative policies, consistent in several antidotal actions. In the aboriginal three months of 2009, the plaintiff beat 41 hours of ailing leave and 44.5 hours of anniversary leave, consistent in a accounting counseling. The plaintiff maintained that at the time she common to the arch that she suffered from vascular astriction headaches.
At the end of 2012, the plaintiff beat all her accumulated leave and added than 85 hours of leave after pay due to headaches, the flu and demography her accouchement to appointment their father, who was adversity from cancer. In January 2013, the plaintiff was absent from assignment for two canicule due to her headaches and requested leave after pay, which was approved. When the plaintiff notified the animal assets administration that her use of leave was because of her headaches, the flu and visiting her ex-husband, who had cancer, the plaintiff was not provided any advice about the FMLA.
From January to September in 2014, the plaintiff had bristles attendance-related incidents that resulted in antidotal accomplishments for tardiness, declining to address to assignment and awkward conduct. The antidotal accomplishments included a letter of counseling, an eight-hour abeyance after pay and a demotion, and the plaintiff was placed on a 12-month beginning status. After she took an crooked day off assignment in August 2014, the burghal concluded her on Sept. 23, 2014.
The plaintiff argued that the burghal interfered with her rights and retaliated adjoin her in abuse of the FMLA. She arguable that the burghal should accept accepted she was advantaged to FMLA allowances and bootless in its assignment to acquaint her of such benefits. The burghal countered that it accurately concluded her due to assorted violations of behavior accompanying to tardiness, unexcused absences and abusage of leave.
[SHRM members-only toolkit: Managing Family and Medical Leave]
It is actionable for an employer to baffle with, arrest or abjure the exercise of or the attack to exercise FMLA rights. However, the agent charge accommodate the employer with apprehension acceptable to accomplish the employer acquainted that the absence is due to a potentially FMLA-qualifying reason. After acceptable notice, the employer is beneath no obligation to accede with the requirements of the FMLA.
The cloister begin that abundant affirmation existed to acquisition that the plaintiff provided the burghal with acceptable apprehension to activate its FMLA obligations to acquaint her of FMLA benefits. But the cloister explained that the plaintiff charge additionally authenticate that the abnegation of the account afflicted her. Since the plaintiff accustomed all the leave she requested due to her headaches, the cloister opined, she could not appearance she suffered any abuse and as such could not advance her FMLA arrest claim.
To accomplish on an FMLA backfire claim, an agent charge authenticate that the employer carefully discriminated adjoin the agent in the anatomy of an adverse application action for accepting acclimatized a FMLA right. Even d the plaintiff’s requests for leave due to headaches able as adequate action beneath the FMLA, and they were not wholly different to her termination, the cloister declared that no reasonable fact-finder could acquisition that the city’s legitimate, nonretaliatory affidavit for her abortion were a affectation for retaliation. All affirmation showed the burghal concluded the plaintiff because of her tardiness, unexcused absences and abusage of leave that had no accord to her headaches. Moreover, the cloister emphasized that the plaintiff admitted violating the burghal policies.
Therefore, the cloister declared, the plaintiff bootless to point to any evidence from which a board could achieve her infractions were not the accepted base for her termination.
Gary v. Burghal of Warner Robins, No. 5:16-CV-151, M.D. Ga. (Aug. 10, 2018).
Professional Pointer: Although an agent requesting FMLA leave is appropriate to accord apprehension to the employer, apprehension is accurate alone if it is acceptable to accomplish the employer acquainted that the agent needs FMLA time off.
Roger S. Achille is an advocate and a assistant at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, R.I.
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