Court Upholds Termination of Employee Based on Information Discovered During FMLA Leave

July 2, 2009 Published Work
Council on Education in Management's HR, May 13, 2009

In Cracco v. Vitran Express, Inc., 559 F.3d 625 (7th Cir. 2009), the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit rejected a terminated employee's retaliation and interference claims under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and in doing so reaffirmed that the FMLA does not bar an employer from dismissing an employee based on information that comes to light during the employee's FMLA leave and would otherwise form the basis of a valid termination. The ruling helps to clarify the extent of an employer's obligation to reinstate an employee to his/her prior position (or equivalent position) upon returning from an FMLA leave.

Vitran Express, Inc., a trucking company, employed Kevin Cracco as a Service Center Manager for Vitran's Markham, Illinois, terminal. In October 2006, Mr. Cracco was hospitalized with a serious health condition that rendered him temporarily unable to work. He requested and was granted medical leave under the FMLA.