ILNews

7th Circuit affirms ruling against fired employee

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Carrier Corp. had an “honest suspicion” that one of its employees was abusing his leave under the Family Medical Leave Act, so the District Court was correct in granting summary judgment for Carrier in the fired employee’s lawsuit.

Carrier had excessive employee absenteeism at its Indianapolis plant, so it hired a private investigator to follow certain employees who were suspected of abusing the company’s leave policies. Daryl Scruggs was authorized to take intermittent leave under the FMLA to care for his mother, who is in a nursing home.

Scruggs was one of the employees suspected of abusing the leave policies, so the company set up surveillance of his house on a day he requested FMLA leave. The surveillance revealed he never left his home that day, so he was suspended by the company pending further investigation. Scruggs submitted several documents to try to support his argument that he left the house and had been with his mother, but Carrier believed the documents were suspicious and inconsistent. Carrier fired Scruggs for misusing his FMLA leave.

Scruggs filed a lawsuit for interference and retaliation under the FMLA. The District Court granted summary judgment for Carrier, which the 7th Circuit affirmed. In the Circuit Court, because an employee has “no greater right to reinstatement or to other benefits and conditions of employment than if the employee had been continuously employed,” an employer need only show that “it refused to reinstate the employee based on an ‘honest suspicion’” that the employee was abusing leave.  

When Carrier asked Scruggs about the day in question, he couldn’t recall what he did that day but said he didn’t misuse his leave. He later brought paperwork from the nursing home and doctor’s office, but these documents only raised further questions for Carrier, the opinion says. Taken together, this was enough for Carrier to have an honest suspicion that Scruggs misused his FMLA leave.

The 7th Circuit also found that Carrier did not retaliate against Scruggs for using his FMLA leave.

 

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Indiana State Bar Association

Indianapolis Bar Association

Evansville Bar Association

Allen County Bar Association

Indiana Lawyer on Facebook

facebook
ADVERTISEMENT
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. I need an experienced attorney to handle a breach of contract matter. Kindly respond for more details. Graham Young

  2. I thought the slurs were the least grave aspects of her misconduct, since they had nothing to do with her being on the bench. Why then do I suspect they were the focus? I find this a troubling trend. At least she was allowed to keep her law license.

  3. Section 6 of Article I of the Indiana Constitution is pretty clear and unequivocal: "Section 6. No money shall be drawn from the treasury for the benefit of any religious or theological institution."

  4. Video pen? Nice work, "JW"! Let this be a lesson and a caution to all disgruntled ex-spouses (or soon-to-be ex-spouses) . . . you may think that altercation is going to get you some satisfaction . . . it will not.

  5. First comment on this thread is a fitting final comment on this thread, as that the MCBA never answered Duncan's fine question, and now even Eric Holder agrees that the MCBA was in material error as to the facts: "I don't get it" from Duncan December 1, 2014 5:10 PM "The Grand Jury met for 25 days and heard 70 hours of testimony according to this article and they made a decision that no crime occurred. On what basis does the MCBA conclude that their decision was "unjust"? What special knowledge or evidence does the MCBA have that the Grand Jury hearing this matter was unaware of? The system that we as lawyers are sworn to uphold made a decision that there was insufficient proof that officer committed a crime. How can any of us say we know better what was right than the jury that actually heard all of the the evidence in this case."

ADVERTISEMENT