Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Rules for Employer in FMLA Matter

/ 09/10/2011

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled for an employer in a dispute centered on the Family Medical Leave Act. Baham v. McLane Foodservice, Inc., No. 10-10944 (5th Cir. July 1, 2011). While on vacation, the plaintiff’s daughter was injured. The plaintiff completed some FMLA paperwork while he stayed with his daughter out-of-state. The plaintiff then returned to Texas, two weeks before his wife and injured daughter returned. Shortly after their return, the plaintiff went back to work. That day, the plaintiff left the worksite, and the employer sent a letter terminating the plaintiff’s employment.

The plaintiff sued, claiming that his employment was terminated in violation of the FMLA. The district court concluded that the plaintiff did not qualify for FMLA leave because he was not actively caring for his daughter during the two weeks she remained in another state after he returned to Texas.

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the district court’s summary judgment decision. To be entitled to FMLA leave, an employee must show that he is needed to care for a family member with a serious health condition. Because the plaintiff was not taking care of his daughter after he returned to Texas, the plaintiff was ineligible for FMLA leave. Therefore, he was not engaged in a protected FMLA activity when his employment ceased.

To speak to a Dallas, Texas employment law attorney about FMLA leave or about another employment law issue, contact the Dallas employment lawyers at Clouse Dunn LLP at [email protected]


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