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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:The appellee, Debbie Urban, filed suit in the Northern District of Texas, alleging that the appellant, Dolgencorp of Texas Inc. (“Dollar General”) terminated her employment in contravention of the Family Medical Leave Act. The district court granted Urban’s motion for summary judgment, finding that Dollar General had not complied with the relevant FMLA regulations regarding Urban’s right to cure deficiencies in the medical documentation she submitted supporting her request for leave. Dollar General appealed. HOLDING:Reversed and rendered. The FMLA provides that “[a]n employer may require that a request for leave . . . be supported by a certification issued by the health care provider of the eligible employee.” Id. 2613(a). If the employer does require medical certification, it must give the employee at least 15 calendar days in which to submit the certification. 29 C.F.R. 825.305(b) (2002). The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has not addressed whether a certification that is never submitted to the employer may be considered “incomplete” under 825.305(d). The court distinguishes Jiminez v. Velcro USA, Inc., No. 01-001-JD, 2002 WL 337523 (D.N.H. Mar. 4, 2002) and DeLong v. Trujillo, 1 P.3d 195 (Colo. App. 1999). The facts as they exist in Jiminez and Trujillo are unlike those present here. It is undisputed that Urban failed to submit documentation of any kind to Dollar General within the specified deadline. Moreover, neither party argues that Dollar General did not properly notify Urban of the deadline or of the consequences in the event she failed to submit the required information. As such, the case law upon which Urban relies is unpersuasive. Dollar General, meanwhile, cites the 7th Circuit’s decision in Rager v. Dade Behring Inc., 210 F.3d 776 (7th Cir. 2000). The district court determined that the employer did not violate the FMLA by terminating the employee, and the 7th Circuit affirmed. The 7th Circuit concluded that the employee had been informed of the requirement to submit the appropriate medical certification, was notified of the consequences associated with her failure to do so, and was given the minimum 15-day period in which to provide that information. Similarly, in the instant case, Urban was notified by Dollar General that she was required to submit the medical certification, and she was made aware of the consequences in the event she failed to comply. Also, like the plaintiff in Rager, Urban was given more than the 15-day period to provide the necessary documentation, and in fact, received an extension from Dollar General in order to do so. As a policy matter, Dollar General argues that to construe 825.305(d) as Urban suggests, i.e., equating a nonexistent medical certification to an “incomplete” one, would lead to results not contemplated by Congress when it enacted the FMLA. The court finds this reasoning persuasive. It is the stated purpose of the FMLA to “balance the demands of the workplace with the needs of families” and “to entitle employees to take reasonable leave for medical reasons” in a “manner that accommodates the legitimate interests of employers.” 29 U.S.C. 2601(b)(1)-(3). Recognizing the balance Congress intended to strike, it would seem illogical to require an employer to continually notify an employee who failed to submit medical certification within a specified deadline. OPINION:DeMoss, J.; DeMoss, Stewart and Clement, JJ.

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