Nicolson Law Group LLC wins Motion for Summary Judgment in FMLA Employment Case

On April 16th, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania granted a Motion for Summary Judgment in favor of Continental Tire the Americas, LLC (“Continental”) and one of its Regional Managers.  In it, the court dismissed all of the plaintiff’s claims of interference and retaliation under the Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”). 


Plaintiff, a former salesperson for Continental, was placed on notice that his professional performance was not meeting his employer’s expectations.  Human Resources personnel at Continental worked with the plaintiff’s supervisor to create a performance improvement plan (“PIP”).  The PIP aimed to make the plaintiff aware of his areas of deficiency, set forth specific performance objectives and provided for a reassessment of his performance in 90 days.  Roughly three weeks after the PIP was enacted, the plaintiff contacted his superiors, notifying them that he had been diagnosed with a serious medical condition.  Plaintiff continued his employment; however, as a result of his diagnosis, the PIP was suspended.  Thereafter, plaintiff requested and was granted leave under the Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”).  Plaintiff was notified by management that the PIP would be placed on hold until he returned.  After two months of leave, the plaintiff returned to the same sales position, and the PIP was reactivated with an amendment stating that an initial evaluation was to occur after sixty days to allow the plaintiff more time to meet his goals.  Several months later, because his performance was still deficient, plaintiff’s employment was terminated.


The plaintiff claimed that his employer violated FMLA by pushing back the PIP evaluation dates after being notified of his diagnosis.  He claimed that the PIP had concluded before he went on leave.  He further alleged that his employer retaliated against him for taking FMLA leave by extending the PIP upon his return.  The plaintiff finally maintained that his ultimate termination was in retaliation for taking FMLA leave. Judge Juan R. Sanchez of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania granted Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment on all claims.  The court concluded that plaintiff’s rights under FMLA were satisfied by his receipt of benefits during his absence from work and that the resumption of the PIP evaluation period was legitimate.  Further, the court found that termination was not retaliatory.  The order and accompanying memorandum can be read here: Ross v. Continental Tire of Americas, LLC. 

 

The information herein is provided for consumer educational purposes only.  The statements contained herein are general statements of law, as of the date stated, and there may be exceptions that are not set forth herein, or changes due to later legislative developments and/or newer case law.  The Nicolson Law Group does not suggest that any provision contained herein will or must apply to any specific issue or case.  For legal information and advice for any particular matter, you are encouraged to consult advice from one of Nicolson Law Group’s licensed attorneys.