Pennsauken, NJ (Law Firm Newswire) July 22, 2019 – An employee may take leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or request a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), but the employee must make a valid request for FMLA leave or an ADA accommodation.
James Dallefeld filed a workers' compensation claim for a knee injury, and his employer, The Clubs at River City (The Clubs), terminated him shortly thereafter. He filed a suit claiming violations of the FMLA and ADA. The Clubs filed a motion for summary judgment (summary dismissal).
A key issue on the FMLA claim was whether Dallefeld provided sufficient notice of his intent to take FMLA leave. In Dallefeld v. The Clubs at River City, Inc., a federal district court in Illinois ruled, in July 2017, that Dallefeld presented enough evidence to avoid summary dismissal. Dallefeld provided the person in charge of FMLA at The Clubs with his doctor's work status report taking him off duty.
An issue on the ADA claim was whether Dallefeld asked for an accommodation. The district court ruled Dallefeld presented enough evidence to avoid summary dismissal. Dallefeld's doctor, who released him to light modified duty, testified that Dallefeld could have performed his job if given a reasonable accommodation, and Dallefeld testified that he could perform the essential functions of his job, such as sitting at his desk, answering the phone and using his computer.
In Acker v. General Motors, LLC, a case in Texas decided a couple of months earlier, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals held that a request for FMLA leave was not a request for an accommodation under the ADA.
These cases illustrate what a court may consider in determining whether an employee has made a request for FMLA leave or an ADA accommodation. Need more information? Talk to a workplace lawyer at Petrillo and Goldberg at 856.249.9295 or visit https://www.petrilloandgoldberg.com.
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