Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Miller v. AT&T Corp case brief

Miller v. AT&T Corp case brief summary 

250 F.3d 820
 
SYNOPSIS: Defendant employer appealed from a judgment of the United States District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia finding it liable for violating plaintiff's rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993, 29 U.S.C.S. §§ 2601- 2654, and awarding back pay and attorneys' fees.

OVERVIEW:
-With respect to liability, the employer contended that it did not violate the FMLA because the illness for which plaintiff sought -- an episode of the flu -- was not a serious health condition as defined by the Act and implementing regulations, and that in any event, plaintiff failed to comply with the employer's procedures for the granting of FMLA leave.
-With respect to the award of back pay, the employer claimed that the award should have been limited by the employee's failure to mitigate her damages.

HOLDING:
-The court of appeals concluded that none of the defendant's challenges warranted reversal, and affirmed the district court's judgment.

ANALYSIS:
The appellate court reasoned that defendant violated plaintiff's rights under the FMLA when it denied her request for leave, that her flu symptoms satisfied the regulatory criteria for a serious health condition. Additionally, the employee did not fail to mitigate her damages where her pursuit of a graduate degree was made only after a "diligent but fruitless" search for employment and she believed her ultimate earning potential would be enhanced with the benefit of further education.

OUTCOME: Judgment affirmed in favor of plaintiff employee on her employment discrimination claims under the Family Medical Leave Act where her flu symptoms satisfied the regulatory criteria for a serious health condition under the Act.

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