Magazine article Developments in Mental Health Law

Fired Employee Entitled to FMLA Leave If Change in Behavior Sufficient to Notify Reasonable Employer That Employee Mentally Unable to Work or Give Notice of Need for FMLA Leave

Magazine article Developments in Mental Health Law

Fired Employee Entitled to FMLA Leave If Change in Behavior Sufficient to Notify Reasonable Employer That Employee Mentally Unable to Work or Give Notice of Need for FMLA Leave

Article excerpt

The Seventh Circuit ruled an employee should have been given leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) rather than being fired if a change in the employee's behavior was sufficient to notify a reasonable employer that the employee (1) had a serious health condition or (2) was mentally unable to work or give notice of his or her need for FMLA leave. Under FMLA, advance notice of the need for leave is required unless it is not "feasible." In this case an employee was fired for sleeping on the job during the two weeks preceding a period of hospitalization for depression. After two months of treatment the employee was ready to return to work but the employer refused to take him back.

The Seventh Circuit concluded the employee could take to a jury his claim that his firing violated FMLA. The court noted the employee had worked for the employer for four years and had been a "model employee" up to this point. …

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