Employees who know they are in trouble often try to protect themselves by asking for
Recent case: Eric Barker was diagnosed with anxiety and bipolar disorder. His supervisor called a meeting to tell Barker he was being transferred to a different location. That’s when Barker announced the diagnoses and said he might need leave.
The supervisor still said he was being transferred. Barker refused and was fired. He sued, alleging he had been terminated for needing FMLA leave.
The court tossed out the case because Barker couldn’t prove he was incapacitated by his psychological problems. Therefore, he hadn’t proven he has a serious health condition that made him eligible for leave. (Barker v. RTG Furniture, No. 8:08-CV-484, MD FL, 2009)
- Warn bosses: Don't say anything about medical conditions that may be covered by FMLA
- Document exact timing of decision to fire
- Consider both the ADA and the FMLA when handling employee substance abuse
- Discipline for absences even if employee has disability
- Start of absence, not approval date, sets 12-week FMLA clock ticking