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Friday, July 24, 2015

Employer must permit employee to attempt to cure any defects in his or her Family Medical Leave Act request before denying it


Employer must permit employee to attempt to cure any defects in his or her Family Medical Leave Act request before denying it
Hansler v Lehigh Valley Hospital Network, USCA, 3rd Circuit, Docket #14-1772

Deborah Hansler requested intermittent leave from her former employer, Lehigh Valley Health Network (“Lehigh Valley”), under the Family Medical Leave Act of 1993 (“FMLA”, 29 U.S.C. § 2601 et seq.

Hansler submitted a medical certification requesting leave for two days a week for approximately one month. Her complaint alleged that the medical certification refers to the length of her requested leave but not the nature or duration of her condition.

A few weeks later, after she had be absent from work for several days, Lehigh Valley, citing “excessive absences,” told Hansler that her request for leave had been denied and terminated her employment. The Circuit Court of Appeals noted that in so doing, Lehigh Valleydid not seek any clarification with respect to Hansler’s medical certification as required by law.

Hansler sued but the federal district court dismissed her complaint on the basis that the medical certification supporting Hansler’s request for leave was “invalid.” In contrast, the Circuit Court concluded that “in failing to afford Hansler a chance to cure any deficiencies in her medical certification, Lehigh Valley violated the Medical Leave Act.”

Reversing the district court, the Circuit Court remanded the matter to the district court “for further proceedings.”

The decision is posted on the Internet at:


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