Nicholson v. Pulte Homes Corp., No. 11-2238 (7th Cir. 2012)Annotate this Case
Nicholson was a sales associate for Pulte, a national homebuilder. When she failed to make her sales quotas for several months in a row, Pulte put her on a performance-improvement plan and later fired her when her sales did not improve. Nicholson claimed that her termination was related to her need to care for her ailing parents and sued under the Family and Medical Leave Act, 29 U.S.C. 2601, alleging that the company interfered with her statutory rights and retaliated against her in violation of the Act. The district court granted summary judgment for Pulte. The Seventh Circuit affirmed. Nicholson did not put Pulte on adequate notice that she needed FMLA-qualifying leave to care for her parents. At most, she made a few casual comments to her supervisors about her parents’ ill health. At the time the decision to terminate her employment was made, she had asked for only a single day off to attend a doctor’s appointment with her father, which her supervisor allowed.
The court issued a Revised version of this opinion on August 10, 2012.