Thursday, August 20, 2015

FMLA - deficient request - opportunity to cure

The petition for rehearing filed by appellee Lehigh Valley Hospital Network in the above-entitled case having been submitted to the judges who participated in the decision of this Court, it is hereby O R D E R E D that the petition for rehearing by the panel is granted. The opinion and judgment entered June 22, 2015 are hereby   V A C A T E D.1A subsequent opinion and judgment will be issued.


Hansler v. Lehigh Valley Hospital Network – 3d Cir. – August 19, 2015



Deborah Hansler requested intermittent leave from her former employer, Lehigh Valley Health Network (“Lehigh Valley”), under the Family Medical Leave Act of 1993 (“FMLA” or the “Act”), 29 U.S.C. § 2601 et seq.1 Specifically, Hansler submitted a medical certification requesting leave for two days a week for approximately one month. As alleged in the complaint, 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 took several days off work, Lehigh Valley terminated Hansler’s employment without seeking any clarification about her medical certification, as required by law.


Lehigh Valley cited excessive absences and informed her that the request for leave had been denied. Hansler sued Lehigh Valley for violations of the Medical Leave Act, and the District Court dismissed the complaint on the basis that the medical certification supporting Hansler’s request for leave was “invalid.” We conclude that, by alleging that Lehigh Valley terminated her instead of affording her a chance to cure any deficiencies in her medical certification, Hansler has stated a claim that Lehigh Valley violated the Medical Leave Act. Accordingly, we reverse and remand for further proceedings.