Ruling that Fired Employee Entitled to FMLA Leave if Change in Behavior Sufficient to Notify Reasonable Employer that Mentally Unable to Work Not Disturbed

Byrne v. Avon Products Inc., 328 F.3d 379 (7th Cir. 2003), cert. denied, Avon Products Inc. v. Byrne, 124 S. Ct. 327 (2003)

The Supreme Court declined to review a ruling by the Seventh Circuit that an employee should have been given leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) rather than being fired if a change in the employee's behavior was sufficient to notify a reasonable employer that the employee (1) had a serious health condition or (2) was mentally unable to work or give notice of his or her need for FMLA leave.  Under FMLA, advance notice of the need for leave is required unless it is not "feasible."  In this case an employee was fired for sleeping on the job during the two weeks preceding a period of hospitalization for depression.  The Seventh Circuit concluded the employee could take to a jury his claim that his firing violated FMLA...

Found in DMHL Volume 23 Issue 1