The U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania recently upheld an employer’s decision to terminate an employee under its policy against excessive absenteeism, in spite of the fact that the former employee had previously taken leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”), because the absences at issue were not related to her FMLA qualified condition. See Bertig v. Julia Ribaudo Healthcare Grp., LLC, 2017 WH Cases2d 390378 (M.D. PA 2017).

The employee in this case worked as a nurses’ aid in a nursing home. She also was diagnosed with bladder cancer and asthma during her employment. The employee completed the necessary FMLA paperwork relating to these conditions and took FMLA leave from May 29, 2012 to June 25, 2012. However, during the next year, the employee missed an additional thirteen days of work. According to the employer’s call-in records, the absences were for various reasons, i.e. foot pain, stress fracture in her foot, common cold, sore throat, etc.; however, none of the absences were related to either of her FMLA qualifying conditions.

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