yes 941500 640

How the Court Ruled

18 Jul, 2023 Chris Parker

yes 941500 640

If you chose A, you sided with the court in Arizmendi v. Rich Products Corp., No. C.D. 2022 (Pa. Comm’w Ct. 12/07/22), which held that the worker did not have a serious health condition.

The court explained that FMLA provides leave based on:

--> The birth of a child or placement of a child with the employee for adoption or foster care;
--> Care for a child, spouse, or parent who has a serious health condition;
--> A serious health condition that makes the employee unable to work; or
--> Reasons related to a family member’s service in the military, including to care for a service member or recent veteran with a serious injury or illness.

Under the FMLA, a "serious health condition" includes any illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves continuing treatment by a health care provider.

One way to demonstrate a serious health condition based on continuing treatment is to show that the underlying condition involves a period of incapacity of more than three consecutive, full calendar days.

“Here, the undisputed evidence shows that [the employee] was not in the throes of a ‘serious health condition’ when she sought FMLA leave,” the 2d U.S. Court of Appeals wrote.

Workers' Comp 101: If an employee is (1) incapacitated for more than three days, (2) seen once by a doctor, and (3) prescribed a course of medication, such as an antibiotic, she has a “serious health condition” worthy of FMLA protection. See Brannon v. OshKosh B'Gosh, Inc., 897 F. Supp. 1028 (N.D. Tenn. 1995).

To the extent that the doctor’s note showed her incapacity, the court remarked, it showed only that it only lasted three days. “It says nothing about her inability to work beyond that period.” And there was no other evidence indicating that she was sick for more than three days.

The court conceded that the worker claimed to have requested five days of leave. But the amount she requested was not dispositive.

“Instead, the definition of a "serious health condition" turns on an objective inquiry into her need for "continuing treatment by a heath care provider" and the duration of her incapacity.

The fact that she was able to work after three days also showed she did not meet the standard for a serious health condition under the FMLA. Further, her statement that she went to the ER in March was not evidence that she was sick for a month. The court pointed out that the worker stated that her symptoms from mid-February resolved before she became sick again, demonstrating that she was not continuously incapacitated for that entire period.

The 2d Circuit affirmed the lower court’s grant of judgment to the employer.

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