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. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  2. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  3. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.

  4. rensselaer imdiana is doing same thing to children from the judge to attorney and dfs staff they need to be investigated as well

  5. Sex offenders are victims twice, once when they are molested as kids, and again when they repeat the behavior, you never see money spent on helping them do you. That's why this circle continues