Hickey v. Protective Life Corp., No. 20-1076 (7th Cir. 2021)Annotate this Case
Hickey filed suit under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), 29 U.S.C. 2601, alleging that his former employer, Protective Life, had interfered with the exercise of his FMLA rights and had retaliated against him for exercising those rights. Hickey later abandoned his retaliation claim. The district court held that Hickey could not succeed on his interference claim because he was unable to prove that he had suffered any monetary damages as a result of the alleged interference or was otherwise entitled to equitable relief. The court refused to consider a supplemental declaration that, according to the court, contradicted Hickey’s deposition testimony.
The Seventh Circuit affirmed. The district court correctly concluded that, without evidence that Hickey suffered harm for which the FMLA provides a remedy, Hickey does not have a cognizable action for FMLA interference, and did not abuse its discretion in refusing to consider Hickey’s supplemental declaration as evidence of damages. When Hickey returned from his FMLA leave, he received the same salary and benefits as he had received before his leave. Under the arrangement given him upon his return, his compensation could have diminished after six months but his employment with Protective terminated approximately three weeks after his return for reasons unrelated to his FMLA leave.