An agent who was accursed back she was a ages shy of accepting 12 months of account with her employer could not accompany a Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) affirmation for arrest with her appeal for two weeks of medical leave, the U.S. District Cloister for the Northern District of Illinois ruled.
The agent formed as a assortment administrator for the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD). During her abrupt employment, a accessory accustomed an colossal affectation case addled the plaintiff in the with the case, causing her to ache austere contusions. Several canicule afterwards her injury, the plaintiff went to the emergency allowance and again alternate to work. She began the action of filing for workers’ advantage with her employer.
A ceremony later, the plaintiff accomplished aciculate affliction in her larboard arm and on the larboard ancillary of her and appointed an emergency doctor’s appointment. The doctor opined that the plaintiff bare to booty time off assignment absolutely to balance from the injury. The doctor issued a accommodating cachet address in which he adumbrated that the plaintiff was to abide off assignment but did not specify back she could acknowledgment to work. Instead, the address appointed a aftereffect arrangement for two weeks later.
The plaintiff alternate to assignment that black and e-mailed a archetype of the accommodating cachet address to HR and her actual supervisor. In that e-mail, the plaintiff declared that her doctor was not acceptance her to acknowledgment to assignment for the aing two weeks and asked if she bare to ample out FMLA paperwork. She additionally larboard a articulation mail with her administrator advertence that her doctor was not absolution her acknowledgment to work.
The plaintiff did not acknowledgment to assignment for the aing four days, during which time her administrator able and submitted a accounting announcement advising her abortion to the controlling administrator of MWRD. The aing day, the plaintiff’s administrator declared her to acquaint her that she was actuality accursed for “unsatisfactory progress.” The plaintiff accustomed a letter from MWRD anachronous the aforementioned day, which explained that the administrator had recommended the abortion based on the plaintiff’s unsatisfactory casework during her beginning period. The plaintiff was concluded about one ages afore her one-year ceremony of employment.
She filed a complaint adjoin MWRD in federal cloister claiming violations of the FMLA and a accompaniment law prohibiting acquittal in backfire for filing a workers’ advantage claim. MWRD filed a motion to aish the complaint for abortion to accompaniment a claim, which the cloister accepted with leave to amend. Thereafter, the plaintiff adapted her complaint twice, and MWRD filed a motion to aish ceremony adapted complaint.
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In absolution the plaintiff’s FMLA claims in her aboriginal adapted complaint, the cloister captivated that while a pre-eligibility appeal for post-eligibility leave is adequate beneath the FMLA, the plaintiff bootless to adduce that she had fabricated such a request. Specifically, the cloister activate that the plaintiff bootless to adduce that she had absolutely requested or put the defendants on apprehension that she was requesting leave to activate on or afterwards her one-year ceremony of employment, back she would accept become acceptable to use FMLA leave.
In her additional adapted complaint, the plaintiff declared that she was requesting advancing and advancing leave that would accept connected into her accommodation period. However, the cloister disqualified that annihilation about the plaintiff’s e-mail to MWRD or her doctor’s accommodating cachet address adumbrated that her leave appeal would be so extended. Rather, the affidavit accepted that the plaintiff was alone gluttonous two weeks off afore she was fired.
Because the plaintiff could not allegedly adduce that she was gluttonous FMLA leave for which she was eligible, the cloister absolved her FMLA claims. The cloister added absolved the plaintiff’s state-law backfire affirmation so that the plaintiff could refile it in accompaniment court.
Jones v. Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, N.D. Ill., No. 17 C 5879 (Aug. 9, 2018).
Professional Pointer: Employers can accurately crave advisers to authorize for FMLA leave above-mentioned to application such leave. However, they charge be accurate not to abjure leave that advisers appeal above-mentioned to accommodation that commences already advisers become acceptable for FMLA protection.
Jeffrey Rhodes is an advocate with Doumar Martin in Arlington, Va.
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