Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Employee Not Required Give Return To Work Date -FMLA

Susan Gienapp worked at Harbor Crest, a residential nursing care facility in Fulton, Illinois.  In January 2011, Gienapp informed the company’s top manager that she needed time off to care for her daughter.  Gienapp’s daughter was diagnosed with thyroid cancer.  Gienapp was granted leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”).  Under FMLA, employees are allowed upto 12 weeks’ unpaid leave annually to care for children with serious health conditions. 29 U.S.C. § 2612(a)(1).
On March 29, Gienapp was terminated from her job because she failed to inform the company of the date she would return from leave.  The United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit, held that Gienapp had complied with the FMLA even though she did not inform the company of her anticipated return date.  The statute requires that an employee gives notice and Gienapp complied.  At the time of the leave, Gienapp was unaware of when she would return because the doctors did not know how long her daughter would have to undergo treatment.  The higher court reversed the lower court’s decision, and remanded the case with instructions to grant summary judgment for Gienapp. Gienapp v. Harbor Crest, 14-1053, 2014 WL 2854816 (7th Cir. June 24, 2014).

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