Render v. FCA US, LLC, No. 21-2851 (6th Cir. 2022)Annotate this Case
In 2013, Render started as a line worker at FCA. FCA terminated his employment in 2015, for attendance infractions. Render filed a union grievance and FCA conditionally reinstated him in April 2017, with a one-year probationary period. Under his Conditional Reinstatement Letter, FCA could terminate him if he incurred two unexcused tardies or one unexcused absence during that year. About six months after his reinstatement, Render applied for intermittent leave under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), 29 U.S.C. 2601, to manage his major recurrent depression and anxiety disorder. The letters conditionally approving the leave gave Render conflicting instructions about how to call in to use his FMLA leave days. Render believed that he had to call a 1-800 number and report his absence. He “didn’t realize there was a second number.”
Render’s subsequent attempts to call in and use his FMLA leave did not satisfy his supervisors. He was terminated for violating his Reinstatement Letter by incurring three tardies and two absences. The Sixth Circuit reversed the dismissal of Render’s FMLA interference and retaliation claims. Render’s notice to FCA met FMLA requirements. Render established a prima facie retaliation claim. . Render raised sufficient facts showing that FCA’s nondiscriminatory reason for his termination (noncompliance with FCA’s policies) was pretextual.