Jones v. Gulf Coast Health Care of Delaware, LLC, No. 16-11142 (11th Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
Defendant filed suit against his former employer under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), 29 U.S.C. 2601-2654, alleging that the employer interfered with the exercise of his FMLA rights and later retaliated against him for asserting those rights. The district court granted summary judgment for the employer. Because plaintiff likely waived his FMLA right to reinstatement by taking an additional 30 days of medical leave, because he failed to submit a fitness-for-duty certification by the end of his FMLA leave, and because the record was devoid of proof challenging the employer's contention that its fitness-for-duty certification policy was implemented in a uniform fashion, plaintiff lost the right to be reinstated after failing to comply with this policy. Therefore, the court concluded that plaintiff failed to show that he was denied a benefit to which he was entitled under the FMLA, and the district court properly granted summary judgment as to the interference claim. The court affirmed as to this claim. The court held that temporal proximity, for the purpose of establishing the causation prong of a prima facie case of FMLA retaliation, should be measured from the last day of an employee's FMLA leave until the adverse employment action at issue occurs. In this case, plaintiff has met his burden of raising a genuine dispute as to whether his taking of FMLA leave and his termination were casually related. Therefore, the court reversed the judgment as to the retaliation claim and remanded for further proceedings.