Employee's Failure To Follow Call-In Procedures Dooms FMLA Claims

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Managing intermittent FMLA leaves is often challenging for employers. However, a recent case reinforces the requirement that employees must comply with reasonable call-in procedures to report FMLA absences. Following a recent trend among federal courts, a federal court in Pennsylvania dismissed an employee’s FMLA claim because she failed to follow her employer’s call-in procedures to report intermittent FMLA absences. In Campbell v. Jefferson Univ. Physicians, an employee was granted intermittent FMLA leave to care for her husband who suffered from a seizure disorder. On January 13, 2013, the employee’s husband had a seizure and she called off of work on January 14, 2013. The employee also called off of work on January 15, 16, 17, and 18, claiming intermittent FMLA. However, the employee neither reported to work nor did she call in for absences on January 21-25, 2013. The employer terminated the employee for failing to follow its call-in procedures for her absences on January 21-25. The employee claimed she did not call in because she believed that her supervisor told her that she had been fired. The Court granted the employer summary judgment dismissing the employee’s FMLA claims because the employee did not follow the employer’s call-in procedures for her absences on January 21-25. This case is another reminder that employees with approved intermittent FMLA are still required to follow the proper call-in procedures; otherwise, employees can be subject to discipline without violating the FMLA.

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