In a recent decision, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit clarified that an employer can violate the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) by discouraging an employee from taking FMLA leave, even without actually denying an FMLA leave request.
In Ziccarelli v. Dart, Plaintiff Salvatore Ziccarelli argued that his employer, the Cook County Sherriff’s office, violated the FMLA by discouraging him from taking FMLA leave. Between 2007 and early 2016, Ziccarelli took varying amounts of FMLA leave every year. By September 2016, he had used 304 of 480 of his available FMLA leave hours for the year. He then enrolled in an 8-week treatment program for PTSD that year. In his lawsuit, he alleged that he called the Sherriff’s Office’s FMLA manager, Wylola Shinnawi, to discuss using a combination of his FMLA leave, sick leave, and annual leave to attend the program. He said that Shinnawi told him that he’d already taken a significant amount of FMLA leave, and that he should not take any more FMLA leave, otherwise he would be disciplined. Ziccarelli chose to retire, stating that he feared he would be fired if he took additional FMLA leave.
Continue Reading Seventh Circuit Issues Decision Addressing Employer Interference With FMLA Leave