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7th Circuit rejects claim that FMLA should be extended to non-eligible employees

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The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment for a transportation company on a fired worker’s claims that her termination violated the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act. The judges didn’t agree with the woman that FMLA protection should extend to non-eligible employees who request leave for future periods.

In Terri Basden v. Professional Transportation Inc., 11-2880, Terri Basden was fired from her job as a dispatcher after accumulating multiple absences, some which included medical reasons. She believed she may have multiple sclerosis, although she would not be able to see a specialist for several months. After receiving a three-day suspension, she sought unpaid 30-day leave of absence, which employees who have been with the company for at least a year may request. Basden had not been employed for a year yet. She did not return after her suspension and was fired.

She filed a lawsuit, alleging violations of the ADA and FMLA when she was fired. The District Court granted summary judgment for Professional Transportation Inc.

Basden failed to present sufficient evidence that she was qualified to perform the essential functions of her job, even with a reasonable accommodation, the judges ruled. She responded to PTI’s motion for summary judgment on the ADA claim with evidence that her condition improved and that she hoped to return to work regularly after her leave.

Although the judges found that PTI failed to engage in the interactive accommodation exploration process required by the ADA, that failure doesn’t need to be considered if the employee fails to present evidence sufficient to reach the jury on the question of whether she was able to perform the essential functions of her job with an accommodation.

On her FMLA claim, she argued the Act should not be interpreted to preclude relief for non-eligible employees who request leave for future periods. But her request was made before she was eligible for FMLA protection and sought leave that would have began before her eligibility began, Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman of the Northern District of Illinois wrote, who was sitting by designation.

“Basden cites no authority for extending the statute’s protections to her situation, and arguments for such extension have been squarely rejected elsewhere,” she wrote.

 

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  1. What a fine article, thank you! I can testify firsthand and by detailed legal reports (at end of this note) as to the dire consequences of rejecting this truth from the fine article above: "The inclusion and expansion of this right [to jury] in Indiana’s Constitution is a clear reflection of our state’s intention to emphasize the importance of every Hoosier’s right to make their case in front of a jury of their peers." Over $20? Every Hoosier? Well then how about when your very vocation is on the line? How about instead of a jury of peers, one faces a bevy of political appointees, mini-czars, who care less about due process of the law than the real czars did? Instead of trial by jury, trial by ideological ordeal run by Orwellian agents? Well that is built into more than a few administrative law committees of the Ind S.Ct., and it is now being weaponized, as is revealed in articles posted at this ezine, to root out post moderns heresies like refusal to stand and pledge allegiance to all things politically correct. My career was burned at the stake for not so saluting, but I think I was just one of the early logs. Due, at least in part, to the removal of the jury from bar admission and bar discipline cases, many more fires will soon be lit. Perhaps one awaits you, dear heretic? Oh, at that Ind. article 12 plank about a remedy at law for every damage done ... ah, well, the founders evidently meant only for those damages done not by the government itself, rabid statists that they were. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) My written reports available here: Denied petition for cert (this time around): http://tinyurl.com/zdmawmw Denied petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): http://tinyurl.com/zcypybh Related, not written by me: Amicus brief: http://tinyurl.com/hvh7qgp

  2. Justice has finally been served. So glad that Dr. Ley can finally sleep peacefully at night knowing the truth has finally come to the surface.

  3. While this right is guaranteed by our Constitution, it has in recent years been hampered by insurance companies, i.e.; the practice of the plaintiff's own insurance company intervening in an action and filing a lien against any proceeds paid to their insured. In essence, causing an additional financial hurdle for a plaintiff to overcome at trial in terms of overall award. In a very real sense an injured party in exercise of their right to trial by jury may be the only party in a cause that would end up with zero compensation.

  4. Why in the world would someone need a person to correct a transcript when a realtime court reporter could provide them with a transcript (rough draft) immediately?

  5. This article proved very enlightening. Right ahead of sitting the LSAT for the first time, I felt a sense of relief that a score of 141 was admitted to an Indiana Law School and did well under unique circumstances. While my GPA is currently 3.91 I fear standardized testing and hope that I too will get a good enough grade for acceptance here at home. Thanks so much for this informative post.

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