Employees’ failure to respond negates FMLA claim!

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Employees’ failure to respond negates FMLA claim!

September 21, 2015

The University of Maryland Medical Center did not violate FMLA when it terminated an employee being treated for malaria while overseas, after being unable to contact the employee for six weeks, a Maryland federal district court ruled. The employee could not make international calls or connect with the internet to access his email after losing his cell phone.

“FMLA protection is unavailing when an employee fails to respond to an employer’s request for further information,” the court said. The court noted that the medical center — not knowing that the employee lacked access to all methods of communication and was unable to return home — had waited over a month for the employee to respond to numerous requests for information before ending his employment. Although the employee’s situation was unfortunate, the court stated, an employer “is not required to be clairvoyant.”

The case is Sherif v. University of Maryland Medical Center, 2015 WL 5083469 (N.D. Md. Aug. 26, 2015)