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It’s not just doctor’s FMLA call anymore: Court allows worker’s say on health condition

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in FMLA Guidelines,Human Resources,Leaders & Managers,Management Training

Here’s a new Florida case you should be aware of. A federal district court judge has allowed an FMLA interference case to go forward based on an employee’s testimony that she was absent due to a serious health condition when her employer terminated her.

Recent case: Patricia Darby worked for Medco Health Solutions and was approved for intermittent FMLA leave for problems related to allergies and the injections she needed. But the certification was limited to a few days at a time, generally three to five days, several times each year.

Almost immediately after getting approval, Darby began missing work. When she missed more than the period listed in her certification, Medco terminated her.

She sued, alleging that she had been ill during all her time off. The company argued that she was out more than her certification allowed.

The court said her case could go to trial—and that her own testimony could be used to supplement her doctor’s certification. In other words, she can testify that she was absent because of her chronic condition. (Darby v. Medco, No. 8:08-CV-2421, MD FL, 2010)

Final note: If an employee says she had a serious health condition, carefully follow the certification process. If her doctor says she had a serious health condition, get a second and a third certification, which the law allows. If those two additional certifications contradict her doctor and her testimony, chances are the court will dismiss the case.

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