A recent federal court ruling in a Family and Medical Leave Act/Americans with Disabilities Act lawsuit illustrates why employers shouldn’t assume that FMLA rules don’t apply to them or refuse to consider requests for reasonable accommodations.
As Sindy Warren explains on Warren & Associates’ Our Blog, an employer who terminated a worker with a serious medical condition has learned that the plaintiff’s case is headed to trial.
She says that Alan Demyanovich suffered from congestive heart failure, requiring numerous leaves of absence from his job at Cadon Plating & Coatings. When he returned from the most recent leave he asked for light duty and not to be assigned overtime.
The vice president denied both requests, allegedly saying that Demyanovich was a “liability.” When he sought additional leave, Warren says that the VP said he didn’t have to grant FMLA requests because there were not enough employees so the act’s requirements didn’t apply. Thereafter, the worker was terminated for excessive absenteeism.
Regarding the FMLA claim, Warren says the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals noted the employer was affiliated with a much larger company and therefore was a “joint employer” for purposes of the act, and “the employer’s summary rejection of the requests for accommodations was enough to permit the plaintiff to proceed to trial.”