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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. Welcome to Hendricks County where local and state statutes (especially Indiana Class C misdemeanors) are given a higher consideration than Federal statues and active duty military call-ups.

  2. If real money was spent on this study, what a shame. And if some air-head professor tries to use this to advance a career, pity the poor student. I am approaching a time that i (and others around me) should be vigilant. I don't think I'm anywhere near there yet, but seeing the subject I was looking forward to something I might use to look for some benchmarks. When finally finding my way to the hidden questionnaire all I could say to myself was...what a joke. Those are open and obvious signs of any impaired lawyer (or non-lawyer, for that matter), And if one needs a checklist to discern those tell-tale signs of impairment at any age, one shouldn't be practicing law. Another reason I don't regret dropping my ABA membership some number of years ago.

  3. The case should have been spiked. Give the kid a break. He can serve and maybe die for Uncle Sam and can't have a drink? Wow. And they won't even let him defend himself. What a gross lack of prosecutorial oversight and judgment. WOW

  4. I work with some older lawyers in the 70s, 80s, and they are sharp as tacks compared to the foggy minded, undisciplined, inexperienced, listless & aimless "youths" being churned out by the diploma mill law schools by the tens of thousands. A client is generally lucky to land a lawyer who has decided to stay in practice a long time. Young people shouldn't kid themselves. Experience is golden especially in something like law. When you start out as a new lawyer you are about as powerful as a babe in the cradle. Whereas the silver halo of age usually crowns someone who can strike like thunder.

  5. YES I WENT THROUGH THIS BEFORE IN A DIFFERENT SITUATION WITH MY YOUNGEST SON PEOPLE NEED TO LEAVE US ALONE WITH DCS IF WE ARE NOT HURTING OR NEGLECT OUR CHILDREN WHY ARE THEY EVEN CALLED OUT AND THE PEOPLE MAKING FALSE REPORTS NEED TO GO TO JAIL AND HAVE A CLASS D FELONY ON THERE RECORD TO SEE HOW IT FEELS. I WENT THREW ALOT WHEN HE WAS TAKEN WHAT ELSE DOES THESE SCHOOL WANT ME TO SERVE 25 YEARS TO LIFE ON LIES THERE TELLING OR EVEN LE SAME THING LIED TO THE COUNTY PROSECUTOR JUST SO I WOULD GET ARRESTED AND GET TIME HE THOUGHT AND IT TURNED OUT I DID WHAT I HAD TO DO NOT PROUD OF WHAT HAPPEN AND SHOULD KNOW ABOUT SEEKING MEDICAL ATTENTION FOR MY CHILD I AM DISABLED AND SICK OF GETTING TREATED BADLY HOW WOULD THEY LIKE IT IF I CALLED APS ON THEM FOR A CHANGE THEN THEY CAN COME AND ARREST THEM RIGHT OUT OF THE SCHOOL. NOW WE ARE HOMELESS AND THE CHILDREN ARE STAYING WITH A RELATIVE AND GUARDIAN AND THE SCHOOL WON'T LET THEM GO TO SCHOOL THERE BUT WANT THEM TO GO TO SCHOOL WHERE BULLYING IS ALLOWED REAL SMART THINKING ON A SCHOOL STAFF.

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