City Not Required to Accommodate Employee’s Financial Stresses Under the ADA

Kollman & Saucier
Kollman & Saucier
05/07/2014
An employee’s potential increased day-care costs are not a pregnancy-related condition requiring accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act, according to a federal district judge in Minnesota.  As a result, a city police department was not required to accommodate a request by a pregnant employee for a swapped time-shift.  McCarty v. City of Eagan, No. 0:12-cv-02512 (D. Minn. Apr. 28, 2014). Brea McCarty worked her way up to the...
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FMLA Jury Verdict Overturned by Appellate Court

Darrell VanDeusen
Darrell VanDeusen
03/25/2014
Employers often cringe when they think about taking a case to a jury.   Even if the facts are good for the company, juries are notoriously unpredictable and sometimes follow sympathies rather than legal reasoning. That, of course, is one reason why appellate review exists. A recent decision from the Eleventh Circuit provides a case study of the issue in the context of a company executive’s claim of a Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) violation...
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FMLA Case Goes to Jury, Says Tenth Circuit

Darrell VanDeusen
Darrell VanDeusen
01/27/2014
Employers who decide to fire an employee for a work rule violation usually feel pretty secure in the decision when the employee has admitted to the infraction. But it is important to remember that, in discrimination or retaliation cases, the real question is “how has the employer treated other employees in similar circumstances?” The need to focus on this “similarly situated” factor, as well as the possible “bad facts” in a case, was...
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Exhaustion of FMLA Leave with No Return Date Dooms Plaintiff’s Claims

Garrett Wozniak
Garrett Wozniak
11/18/2013
In Owens v. Calhoun County School District, No. 12-60897 (Oct. 8, 2013), the Fifth Circuit upheld a district court’s granting of summary judgment to an employer on a former employee’s Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) claim. Karen Darlene Mann Owens taught at Bruce Upper Elementary School in Mississippi for seventeen years until she was fired in February 2010.  Owens suffered from neck and back pain, conditions which worsened over the...
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First Circuit Rules on FMLA Retaliation Rights for Employees Who Are Not FMLA-Eligible

Darrell VanDeusen
Darrell VanDeusen
10/14/2013
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) grants eligible employees the right to take job protected leave.  An employer that denies an employee such rights may be faced with an FMLA “interference” claim.  The FMLA also precludes employers from discriminating or retaliating against employees for exercising those rights, and employers must defend against such “retaliation” claims as well. In the typical retaliation case, an employee subject to...
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Volunteer Firefighters are “Employees” for FMLA Coverage

Darrell VanDeusen
Darrell VanDeusen
08/20/2013
In a real head scratcher, the Sixth Circuit has held 2-1 that volunteer firefighters are “employees” who are counted for, and therefore get protection under, the Family and Medical Leave Act.  Mendel v. City of Gibraltar, 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 16922 (August 15, 2013).  The majority made this decision based on the “substantial wages” paid for the services performed. The City of Gibraltar, Michigan has approximately 25 volunteer firefighters...
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Failure To Comply With The FMLA’s Recertification Procedures Ruins Employer’s Summary Judgment Chances

Randi Klein Hyatt
Randi Klein Hyatt
07/12/2013
In Hansen v. Fincantieri Marine Group, LLC, (E.D. Wis. June 14, 2013), the employee suffered from depression and had  episodic flare-ups that prevented him from working.  He was approved for intermittent FMLA leave based on his  certification from his health care provider which advised the employee may experience “about four episodes every six months” and which would incapacitate him “two to five days per episode.” Within the first two...
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Employer’s Consistent Explanation for Discharging Employee Defeats Discrimination Claims

In Anderson v. Discovery Communications, 8:08-cv-02424, 2013 WL 1364345 (4th Cir. Apr. 5, 2013), the Fourth Circuit affirmed a decision from the United States District Court for the District of Maryland granting summary judgment to Discovery and a cadre of individual defendants on claims under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Montgomery County Human Rights Act (MCHRA), and Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Though unremarkable in and of...
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No FMLA Claim For Employee Who Posted Vacation Photos On Facebook During Leave

Randi Klein Hyatt
Randi Klein Hyatt
02/26/2013
A federal court in Michigan recently dismissed the FMLA claims of an employee fired for misuse of FMLA leave and dishonesty after posting photographs of her vacation on Facebook while on medical leave.  Lineberry v. Richards, No. 2: 11-13752 (E.D. Mich. Feb. 5, 2013).   Carol Lineberry worked as a registered nurse for Detroit Medical Center (DMC).  In January 2011, Lineberry complained of excruciating pain in her back and legs after moving...
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Employee Not Entitled To FMLA After Failing To Produce Health Care Provider Certification

Randi Klein Hyatt
Randi Klein Hyatt
02/21/2013
Most employers and human resource professionals know that the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) permits certain employees of covered employers to take unpaid leave for specified family and medical reasons.  The FMLA, through its implementing regulations, requires that an employee claiming FMLA provide his or her employer within fifteen days (or longer if the employer so allows) a certificate of health care provider confirming the employee’s...
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