Holder v. IL Dep't of Corrs., No. 12-1456 (7th Cir. 2014)Annotate this Case
Holder was an Illinois correctional officer since 2006. His wife began to suffer from mental health problems relating to opiate dependency. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) entitles eligible employees to 12 work weeks of leave during a 12-month period to care for a spouse with a serious medical condition, 29 U.S.C. 2612(a)(1). In October 2007, Holder submitted an FMLA certification form. His wife’s psychiatrist indicated that it would “be necessary for the employee to take off work only intermittently or to work less than a full schedule as a result of the condition,” and that the need for leave would continue for an “unknown” duration. The request was approved. The state never asked for additional medical documentation and paid its share of his health insurance premium until April 18, 2008. About 130 days of absence were recorded on a day-by-day basis. On April 18, 2008, Holder was advised that his FMLA leave had expired and that additional leave would be under the Illinois Family Responsibility Leave program, which allows up to a year of unpaid leave; the state only covers insurance premiums for six months. In April-June 2008, Holder took 29 absences, citing the state program. The Warden disapproved requests for June 8-9 and on the denied form, Holder wrote “last one!!!” Eight months later Central Management Services informed Holder that the state had mistakenly paid for his health insurance premiums beyond his entitlement and began deducting 25% of his earnings until he had refunded $8,291.83. Holder sued, claiming interference with FLMA rights. The jury returned a verdict in favor of the state, but the judge entered judgment awarding Holder $1,222.10 for January 2008, but entered a judgment for the state for the rest of the months. The Seventh Circuit affirmed.
The court issued a subsequent related opinion or order on November 2, 2015.