Lichtenstein v. Univ. of Pittsburgh Med. Ctr., No. 11-3419 (3d Cir. 2012)Annotate this Case
Lichtenstein began working with UPMC in 2005. Although Lichtenstein received a merit-based raise in October 2007, from October through December, she was tardy six times, absent twice, and requested changes to her schedule several times after the deadline for requesting changes had passed. Lichtenstein was scheduled to work a 16-hour shift on December 1. Co-workers complained that Lichtenstein was planning to call-off because she needed the day off to do school work or attend a concert. Although her supervisor denied a request for the day off, Lichtenstein called off, alleging she was sick. On December 30th, according to time logs, Lichtenstein arrived hours late and departed several hours early. On January 3, 2008 Lichtenstein’s mother was rushed to the hospital after collapsing from a sudden excruciating pain. Lichtenstein followed UPMC procedures for calling off sick. On January 10, Lichtenstein’s employment was terminated. The district court rejected her claim under the Family Medical Leave Act, 29 U.S.C. 2601. The Third Circuit vacated. Genuine factual disputes exist about whether Lichtenstein‘s notice of unforeseeable FMLA leave was adequate, whether her invocation of FMLA rights was a factor precipitating termination, and whether UPMC’s proffered justification for its action was mere pretext for retaliation.