Yes, Really, Honeywell. You Should Not Finally Fire An Employee Who Has Been Chronically Tardy For 12 Years Only After She Files An FMLA Leave Request.

Randi Klein Hyatt
Randi Klein Hyatt
08/24/2018
Honeywell International learned the hard way a lesson that comes up regularly with employers:  An employee who has had a long-standing problem with X.  And X can be anything from tardiness, forgetting to clock out, violating dress code, missing regular internal filing deadlines, or some other consistent deficiency, that is frustrating and warrants discipline, yet for one reason or another (too busy, forgot, not enough staff and need to keep her...
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A Good Walk Spoiled: Golf Outing Sinks FMLA Claim

Darrell VanDeusen
Darrell VanDeusen
05/07/2018
Honest belief” cases can be difficult for an employer to win on summary judgment.  The concept is that, even if the employer was wrong, it honestly believed that an employee should have been fired, so there was no intent to discriminate.  FMLA honest belief cases are among the most interesting. On one hand, there are lots of things an employee on FMLA leave may still be able to do while complying with the requirements of his or her leave.  You...
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No Serious Health Condition? No FMLA Protection, says Eighth Circuit

Darrell VanDeusen
Darrell VanDeusen
03/07/2018
These days, it is unusual to see an appellate decision where an essential element of the claim is disputed.  For example, it’s the rare Title VII case where the protected status of the plaintiff is in question (“no, your honor, we do not agree that the plaintiff has a race…”) or in a ADA case – after enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act – where the issue of whether the plaintiff has a disability is at...
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Court Orders Arbitration in FMLA Termination Case

Darrell VanDeusen
Darrell VanDeusen
10/26/2017
The question of whether and when an employer can compel an employee who is suing it to arbitrate her case rather than proceed in court depends upon the terms of the agreement between the parties.  In Mason v. Athletic & Therapeutic Inst. of Naperville, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 173046 (S.D. Ind. Oct. 19, 2017), a federal district court told the former employee of an Indiana sports therapy clinic that arbitration is the proper forum for her...
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Appellate Court Rules Employee Can Sue City of Alexandria as Joint Employer Under FMLA

It is no secret that businesses today are increasingly outsourcing human resources functions in an effort to cut costs.  But absent careful planning, the outsourcing employer may still bear legal liability for workplace discrimination issues.  Here’s what the Fourth Circuit had to say about the subject in a case decided this week.  Quintana v. City of Alexandria, et al., No. 16-1630 (4th Cir. 6/6/17). The case arose from the City of...
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If You Don’t Have Anything Nice to Say, ...

Randi Klein Hyatt
Randi Klein Hyatt
01/20/2017
Well, you know the rest.  Unfortunately, a management-level employee in Florida perhaps doesn’t.  In Holtrey v. Collier County Board of County Commissioners,  an employee developed a chronic and serious problem with his genito-urinary system.  He consequently applied for, and was granted, leave pursuant to the Family and Medical Leave Act.  In doing so, he disclosed to his employer sensitive medical information, which a management-level...
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Court Affirms Dismissal of Vacationing Employee's FMLA Claim

On October 31st, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit affirmed a Virginia federal court's dismissal of an airline employee's FMLA retaliation claim.  The case arose when United Airlines fired the employee for using intermittent FMLA leave to excuse his failure to work the one shift he was scheduled to work during a lengthy vacation.  Sharif v. United Airlines, et. al., No. 15-1747 (4th Cir. 10/31/16). According to the court's...
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Economic Realities May Make HR Manager Liable for FMLA Violation

Darrell VanDeusen
Darrell VanDeusen
03/22/2016
Addressing the issue for the first time, the Second Circuit has held that supervisors can be individually liable for violations of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), 29 U.S.C. §§ 2601 et seq.  Graziadio v. Culinary Inst. of America, 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 4861 (2d Cir. March 17, 2016).  In so doing, the court joins other federal appellate courts that have applied the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA), “economic realities” test to...
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Verizon Can’t Place State Retaliatory Discharge Claim on Hold

Randi Klein Hyatt
Randi Klein Hyatt
03/11/2016
The United States District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia recently ruled that a Verizon employee who alleged his employer denied him leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and then fired him can pursue his state law claim for retaliatory discharge. In Vandevander v. Verizon Wireless, LLC, No. 3: 15-cv-11540 (S.D.W.Va., March 7, 2016), the federal district court denied Verizon’s motion to dismiss, finding that...
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Maryland Considering Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program

Garrett Wozniak
Garrett Wozniak
03/01/2016
The Maryland General Assembly’s House Economic Matters Committee is considering House Bill 740, which would establish a Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program in Maryland. The program would provide up to twelve weeks of paid leave ($50 to $1,000 per week, with the maximum tied to inflation) to an employee taking unpaid or partially paid leave for the following reasons: (1) to care for a newborn child or a child newly placed for adoption or...
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