Court: Getting prescription refill wasn’t treatment for FMLA purposes

by on August 24, 2012 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: HR Cafe

Just getting a doctor to write a prescription refill doesn’t amount to treatment justifying an employee’s absence from work under the FMLA.

That’s how a court recently ruled in a case involving an employee at a manufacturing plant in Indiana.

The employee got himself FMLA-certified for leg pain and anxiety, and soon after, took a day off for medical reasons. The company agreed that his afternoon absence was FMLA-covered – he went to an appointment at a clinic – but concluded that the time he missed in the morning was an unexcused absence.

Attendance points were assessed against his record, putting him over the company’s limit, and he was fired.

The employee sued for interference with his FMLA rights. He argued that on the morning in question, he went to see his personal doctor, who had referred him to the clinic but with whom he did not have an appointment. She refilled a prescription for him, he contended, an activity that constituted treatment for a serious health condition and thus was a justified reason for FMLA leave.

Work absence wasn’t necessary
An appeals court disagreed, and ruled against the employee.

The court said a mere prescription refill didn’t amount to treatment that necessitated an absence from work. If an employee got a refill in connection with a doctor’s examination that required an absence from work, that would be FMLA-covered, but such wasn’t the case here.

Cite: Jones v. C&D Technologies, No. 11-3400, 7th Cir., 6/28/12.

photo credit: bartificial

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