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Under the Family Medical Leave Act, employees are required to place their employer on notice of only the probable basis for FMLA leave to qualify for it. Employees do not need to specifically refer to the FMLA, as long as they have alerted their employer to the seriousness of the health condition. A general reference to being “sick” is not enough, but providing specifics about more serious medical concerns is often sufficient to warn the employer that the employee may qualify for FMLA leave.
In Nicholson v. Pulte Homes Corp., 690 F.3d 819 (7th Cir. 2012), the court held that casual comments made to a supervisor about a parent’s poor health did not constitute adequate notice of FMLA leave. In December 2008, Nicholson informed her supervisor that she might need time off in the first quarter of 2009 depending on the possibility that her father would need chemotherapy. In the same month, she had a casual conversation with another supervisor and other employees about the challenges of dealing with aging parents in which she alluded to her father’s illness. In April 2009, Nicholson requested one day off to attend a doctor’s appointment with her father, which she was allowed. After the appointment, she told her supervisor that her father’s condition had worsened and that he was diagnosed with stage III cancer.
If you have questions or concerns regarding Non-Compete Agreements, Contract Reviews, Workplace Retaliation, Discrimination, Overtime Pay Disputes, and other Labor and Employment Law issues or disputes, please contact Orlando Attorney - Lawyer N. James Turner.
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