SW Legal studies in Business

Employer Violated Employee's FMLA Rights by Demanding Too Much Verification
Description

Court granted summary judgment in favor of an employee who sued his employer for firing him for failing to produce a note from his doctor each time he took leave under FMLA. Once a condition is certified, a note need not be produced for each absence for the same medical issue.

Topic Employment Law
Key Words

Family and Medical Leave Act; Employer Policy; Doctor's Note

C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts

Jackson worked at Jernberg Industries for a year, after which he began to have problems in his wrist and hand. He had two surgeries and, because his work was physical, took extended leaves. Each time he took an absence, Jernberg required a note from Jackson's physician. When notes were not provided, he was counted absent and not on leave under the Family and Medical Act Leave (FMLA). Eventually he was fired for too many absences. He sued for violation of FMLA, contending that the doctor note policy violated his rights. Both parties filed for summary judgment.

Decision

Summary judgment granted for plaintiff. The employer's requirement that an employee on certified intermittent Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave must still provide a doctor's note for verification of each intermittent absence interfered with Jackson's FMLA leave rights. His leave had been certified as valid by the physician. FMLA regulations prohibit employers from asking for additional information beyond that required by the certification form unless the employer requests recertification. When an employer required a doctor's note for every absence taken under FMLA, the costly note process discourages employees from taking certified leave.

Citation Jackson v. Jernberg Industries, ---F.Supp.2d--- (2010 WL 60921, N.D. Ill., 2010)

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