Jottings By An Employer's Lawyer

Sunday, October 12, 2003

6th Cir. Holds FMLA Trumps Internal Reporting Requirement

An employee was injured in a motorcycle accident and called in every day he was supposed to work to let the employer know. He did not comply with the company rule that if the absence was to be more than three days in a row, that he had to contact Leave Control. Two of the days he missed were counted against him and he received a written counseling. When he failed to comply with another attendance requirement he was terminated. In the review process, the fact of the earlier counseling was used as justification for his termination.

Faced with a situation where he had given sufficient notice to comply with the FMLA, but not met an employer's internal reporting requirement, the 6th Circuit found the FMLA is what counted. Utilizing his absence which qualified under the FMLA as a grounds for termination was improper. Cavin v. Honda of America Manufacturing, Inc. (6th Cir. 10/10/03) [pdf]. To do so, the Court found it had to differ with decisions from the 7th and 10th Circuit, raising the possibility of another future FMLA issue for the Supreme Court.


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