Seeger v. Cincinnati Bell Tel. Co., No. 10-6148 (6th Cir. 2012)Annotate this Case
Seeger worked since 1979 under a union contract. Employees on leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act, 29 U.S.C. 2601-2654, were also eligible for paid disability leave under the employer’s (CBT) disability plan. CBT’s plan required that the employee work in a light-duty position tailored to individual needs and medical restrictions, if medically able. In 2007 Seeger suffered a herniated disc and commenced FMLA and paid disability leave approved by CBT. CBT later asked the physician to consider part-time sedentary work. The doctor indicated that Seeger was unable to perform any work. Days later, Seeger was seen walking, seemingly unimpaired. Human Resources investigated and suspended him. The doctor responded that Seeger could walk, but could not perform even limited duties for eight hours. The company concluded that Seeger was avoiding work required by the policy and terminated his employment for disability fraud. Seeger alleged violation of the FMLA. The district court granted CBT summary judgment, finding that CBT articulated a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for termination and Seeger failed to show that it was pretextual. The Sixth Circuit affirmed. Although Seeger established a prima facie case of retaliatory discharge, he failed to refute evidence that CBT had an honest belief in its basis for termination.