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You’re not expected to be an FMLA mind-reader

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in FMLA Guidelines,Human Resources

Merely mentioning an illness isn’t the same as requesting FMLA leave.

Recent case: Phillip complained to his boss that he was experiencing dizziness. Shortly after, he had a car accident that he initially blamed on being dizzy. However, he was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol. Meanwhile, his supervisor gave him permission to work from home. But when the employer found out about the charges, it terminated Phillip.

Phillip sued, claiming he should have been told he could take FMLA leave after he said he was dizzy.

The court tossed out his lawsuit, reasoning that since Phillip never asked for leave in any way and the employer had no indication the dizziness was serious enough to require leave, there could have been no interference with FMLA leave. (Burnette v. RateGenius, No. 16-50878, 5th Cir., 2016)

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