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Employer FMLA win reversed

A finance manager for a car dealership gets another chance to prove her claim under the Family and Medical Leave Act, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said on Aug. 15.

In an unpublished opinion in Krenzke v. Alexandria Motors Car Inc., the appellate panel reversed an Alexandria federal district court’s summary judgment for a Northern Virginia Lexus dealer on the manager’s FMLA claim. The manager alleged she had to quit when the employer refused to grant her leave.

Under the FMLA, 29 U.S.C. § 2612(a)(1), the employee doesn’t have to explicitly invoke the statute when requesting leave, and in this case, the appellate panel said the employee met the test with a doctor’s note recommending two weeks off from work “due to medical complications and illness.”

The note arguably satisfied requirements for leave requests set out in the company’s employee handbook, the court said, and even if it didn’t, the employee had the right to cure any deficiency under the handbook standard.

And the doctor’s vague reference to “medical complications and illness” sounded like “a serious health condition” under the Act, the panel said, given the medications and diagnostic tests prescribed by the doctor.

By Deborah Elkins

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