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Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Ind. Decisions - 7th Circuit issues one Indiana ruling today

In Brown v. Automotive Components Holdings (SD Ind., Judge Young), a 15-page opinion, Judge Sykes writes:

Letecia Brown, an assembly-line worker at a Ford Motor Company plant in Indianapolis,was terminated for being absent from work without properly following Ford’s leave policies and procedures. She filed suit for sex discrimination and retaliatory termination under Title VII and interference with her rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”), 29 U.S.C. §§ 2601 et seq. The district court dismissed her sex-discrimination claim, and Brown voluntarily dismissed her retaliation claim, leaving only the FMLA claim before the district court. The court initially denied Ford’s motion for summary judgment on this remaining claim, but Ford moved for reconsideration, noting a factual misunderstanding in the court’s summary-judgment decision. The court agreed and reversed itself, entering summary judgment dismissing Brown’s FMLA claim. Brown appealed.

We affirm. Brown’s appeal addresses only the FMLA claim, and summary judgment in favor of Ford on that claim was entirely appropriate. The undisputed facts establish that Brown was absent without leave after failing to give proper FMLA notice for an extension of a previously requested leave period. Specifically, under the FMLA rules then in effect, Brown had two working days in which to give Ford notice that she intended to extend her leave, see 29 C.F.R. § 825.303(a) (2007), and she failed to do so. Further, an employer is entitled to adhere to its own leave policies and procedures when doing so does not otherwise violate the FMLA. Ford’s termination of Brown’s employment based on her noncompliance with its internal leave procedures did not violate the FMLA.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on September 8, 2010 11:20 AM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions