South-Western Legal Studies in Business

Employees on FMLA Leave May Be Required to Follow Leave Guidelines
Description

Appeals court held that an employer’s rule that employees on FMLA leave call the employer when leaving their home during regular working hours was a reasonable policy to help reduce abuse of such leave.

Topic Employment Law
Key Words

FMLA; Sick Leave; Anti-Abuse Provisions

C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts

Callison worked for the City of Philadelphia. After one year of employment, he suffered from stress at home and at work and began to take time off. After he used up his leave, and had numerous absences, the city put him on a Sick Abuse List. Callison then took Family and Medical Leave Act leave for three months. Employees on the Sick Abuse List are required, when home on sick leave, to call the appropriate authority if she or he is going to leave home during regular working hours. Several times, when supervisors called his home during work hours, Callison was not there and had not called in to say that he was leaving. He was suspended from work for four days when he returned from his FMLA leave. Callison sued, contending that the rules violated his FMLA rights. The district court dismissed the suit; Callison appealed.

Decision

Affirmed. The City’s sick leave policy requiring employees to call when leaving home during work hours did not interfere with the employee’s substantive FMLA rights. The policy helps to ensure that FMLA leave is not abused. There is no right in the FMLA to be “left alone.” The City has a legitimate reason for its policy, especially for employees who have a record of abusing leave.

Citation

Callison v. City of Philadelphia, 430 F.3d 117 (3rd Cir., 2005)

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