Egan v. Delaware River Port Authority, No. 16-1471 (3d Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
Egan worked for the Port Authority, 2008-2012, primarily managing fleet vehicles. During his first two years, only a small percentage of his work involved “economic development.” He did not perform any economic development work after 2010. Egan suffers from migraine headaches and claimed that their frequency increased with his transfer to the Engineering Department. He applied for Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave in April 2012. The Port Authority approved intermittent FMLA leave. An issue arose in July because Egan had been reporting only the “approximate” number of hours he worked. In October, Egan was informed that all “economic development functions” were being eliminated, his “temporary reassignment” to the Engineering Department was “deemed completed,” and he was terminated. Egan alleged violations of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, 29 U.S.C. 621, and the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. 12101, and retaliation for exercising his FMLA rights, 29 U.S.C. 2601. A jury rejected his claims. The Third Circuit vacated as to the FMLA claim; the district court erred in refusing to give a mixed-motive jury instruction. A Department of Labor regulation permits a plaintiff to rely on a mixed-motive theory if the evidence, direct or circumstantial, permits a reasonable juror to conclude that use of FMLA leave was a negative factor in the employer’s adverse employment decision.