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Two Medical Conditions Can Equal One FMLA Serious Health Condition

JDSupra (05/23/2012) Jeff Nowak

In the case Fries v. TRI Marketing, the court said employers may violate the Family and Medical Leave Act by terminating an employee for taking leave for two conditions that are not serious health conditions on their own, but when combined can be “temporarily linked” and impact the “same organ system.” Thus, employers assessing an employee’s medical condition under the FMLA should look at the cumulative, adverse effects of related medical conditions. Moreover, they should not indicate in a termination letter that the decision was based, in part, on the employee’s intention to sue; they can avoid claims of retaliation by naming a nondiscriminatory reason for the termination.