- ADA May Provide More Time Off to Employees Following FMLA Leave
- May 12, 2017 | Author: Jeannie A. Hanrahan
- Law Firm: Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin, P.C. - Fort Lauderdale Office
In Walker v. NF Chipola, LLC, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 41172 (S.D. Fla. March 16, 2016), the court held that, while the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides for 12 weeks of leave to an employee, an employer may be obligated in some situations to grant a reasonable accommodation by providing the employee with additional leave from employment well beyond the 12-week period provided for under the FMLA.
In Walker, the employee worked for a nursing home facility operated by NF Chipola, LLC. Throughout her employment, the employee’s job duties required her to lift patients, which eventually necessitated a shoulder surgery. The employee notified the employer that she would be out for six months for the surgery and wished to return to work as soon as she was able to. Once the employee was cleared to come back to work, the employer denied there were any openings for her, and she was then forced to be terminated or to resign. The court held that the employee’s request to return to work after six months constituted a request for a reasonable accommodation which, in light of the situation, could have been easily granted. NF Chipola took the position that it only had to grant the employee 12 weeks of leave under the FMLA. The court ruled that, based upon the facts of this case—the employer had numerous employees, a high turnover rate, stellar employment record by the employee, etc.—when the FMLA 12-week period expired, the employer should have granted the employee the reasonable accommodation of an additional three months of unpaid leave. Therefore, the ADA may provide additional leave to employees following their 12-week leave under the FMLA.