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7th Circuit affirms ruling against fired employee

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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.

 

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  1. I gave tempparry guardship to a friend of my granddaughter in 2012. I went to prison. I had custody. My daughter went to prison to. We are out. My daughter gave me custody but can get her back. She was not order to give me custody . but now we want granddaughter back from friend. She's 14 now. What rights do we have

  2. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

  3. I have a case presently pending cert review before the SCOTUS that reveals just how Indiana regulates the bar. I have been denied licensure for life for holding the wrong views and questioning the grand inquisitors as to their duties as to state and federal constitutional due process. True story: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS Shorter, Amici brief serving to frame issue as misuse of govt licensure: https://www.scribd.com/doc/312841269/Thomas-More-Society-Amicus-Brown-v-Ind-Bd-of-Law-Examiners

  4. Here's an idea...how about we MORE heavily regulate the law schools to reduce the surplus of graduates, driving starting salaries up for those new grads, so that we can all pay our insane amount of student loans off in a reasonable amount of time and then be able to afford to do pro bono & low-fee work? I've got friends in other industries, radiology for example, and their schools accept a very limited number of students so there will never be a glut of new grads and everyone's pay stays high. For example, my radiologist friend's school accepted just six new students per year.

  5. I totally agree with John Smith.

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