What if your mistaken belief that an employee has a serious health condition prompts you to grant? Does she have any legal basis to sue? Probably not.
Recent case: When Tracy’s employer thought she was too sick to work, it sent her home onleave. She protested and got a fitness certification. The company requested two medical exams—which showed she wasn’t seriously ill.
When Tracy was terminated, she sued, arguing she was entitled to reinstatement to her old job.
The court disagreed. Because she never had a serious health condition, she wasn’t covered by the FMLA at all. (Walker v. Trinity Marine, No. 12-2468, 8th Cir., 2013)
Caution: Tracy couldn’t make an FMLA claim. However, it might have turned out differently if she sued under the ADA. That’s because mistakenly regarding someone as disabled may violate that law.
- More time off after FMLA shows good faith
- Know the documentation rules and timetables for FMLA certification requests
- Can employees moonlight while on FMLA leave?
- OK to fire worker who took FMLA leave--as long as reason doesn't involve FMLA
- Sick Leave and the FMLA: Should You Call Off Your Call-in Policy?