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7th Circuit affirms summary judgment for employer in FMLA suit

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An employer was within its rights to terminate an employee who attempted to take off work under the Family and Medical Leave Act but then sought no treatment, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Thursday.

Judge William T. Lawrence granted summary judgment in favor of the employer in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana.

In Robert Jones v. C&D Technologies, 11-3400, Robert Jones appealed the finding for the employer in Attica, where he had worked for six years as a machine operator. The company had a system in which workers were assessed half-points or full points for unexcused absences longer than 30 minutes. An employee with three or more points in a four-month period was subject to termination.

On Oct. 1, 2009, Jones missed work to go to a doctor’s appointment. Jones and the company dispute whether Jones requested FMLA leave for the entire day or just for the time needed for his appointment. Jones also said he left a voice mail about missing work that day, which C&D disputes.

Jones had accumulated at least three points in the quarter, and he was suspended the day after his medical appointment and fired within a week.

The District Court held that while Jones obtained refills of prescription medication for anxiety and leg pain during his day off, he was not entitled to FMLA leave because he did not receive treatment during his absence. The 7th Circuit agreed.

“Taking prescription medicine is not indicative of whether an employee receives treatment that prevents” performing a job, Circuit Judge Michael Kanne wrote. “Many chronic conditions require a course of prescription medication, but the FMLA requires something more for an employee to become entitled to leave — inability to perform … job functions.”


 

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  1. You can put your photos anywhere you like... When someone steals it they know it doesn't belong to them. And, a man getting a divorce is automatically not a nice guy...? That's ridiculous. Since when is need of money a conflict of interest? That would mean that no one should have a job unless they are already financially solvent without a job... A photographer is also under no obligation to use a watermark (again, people know when a photo doesn't belong to them) or provide contact information. Hey, he didn't make it easy for me to pay him so I'll just take it! Well heck, might as well walk out of the grocery store with a cart full of food because the lines are too long and you don't find that convenient. "Only in Indiana." Oh, now you're passing judgement on an entire state... What state do you live in? I need to characterize everyone in your state as ignorant and opinionated. And the final bit of ignorance; assuming a photo anyone would want is lucky and then how much does your camera have to cost to make it a good photo, in your obviously relevant opinion?

  2. Seventh Circuit Court Judge Diane Wood has stated in “The Rule of Law in Times of Stress” (2003), “that neither laws nor the procedures used to create or implement them should be secret; and . . . the laws must not be arbitrary.” According to the American Bar Association, Wood’s quote drives home this point: The rule of law also requires that people can expect predictable results from the legal system; this is what Judge Wood implies when she says that “the laws must not be arbitrary.” Predictable results mean that people who act in the same way can expect the law to treat them in the same way. If similar actions do not produce similar legal outcomes, people cannot use the law to guide their actions, and a “rule of law” does not exist.

  3. Linda, I sure hope you are not seeking a law license, for such eighteenth century sentiments could result in your denial in some jurisdictions minting attorneys for our tolerant and inclusive profession.

  4. Mazel Tov to the newlyweds. And to those bakers, photographers, printers, clerks, judges and others who will lose careers and social standing for not saluting the New World (Dis)Order, we can all direct our Two Minutes of Hate as Big Brother asks of us. Progress! Onward!

  5. My daughter was taken from my home at the end of June/2014. I said I would sign the safety plan but my husband would not. My husband said he would leave the house so my daughter could stay with me but the case worker said no her mind is made up she is taking my daughter. My daughter went to a friends and then the friend filed a restraining order which she was told by dcs if she did not then they would take my daughter away from her. The restraining order was not in effect until we were to go to court. Eventually it was dropped but for 2 months DCS refused to allow me to have any contact and was using the restraining order as the reason but it was not in effect. This was Dcs violating my rights. Please help me I don't have the money for an attorney. Can anyone take this case Pro Bono?

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