Feeling “maybe overworked” is not an FMLA “serious health condition”

I went back and forth on whether to include “BREAKING” in the title to this post. Twas a close call. Close, like that time Bar Rafaeli almost dialed my number by accident (and by almost, I mean she was 7 numbers off — out of 10).

No, feeling “maybe overworked” will not get you leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act. A Florida federal court recently confirmed this in Pivac v. Component Services and Logistics, Inc.:

The substance of the Plaintiff’s “evidence” is that she felt maybe overworked and wanted time off, first to visit her parents, but then just because she was crying and sad. She went to a doctor who provided her with no treatment, no referrals, no medicine, and no further appointments. The Plaintiff stated that she “told him [the doctor] she needed about seven days to get herself together and he gave her a `Medically Excused Absence’ form for the dates October 4, 2011 to October 17, 2011.” There is absolutely no evidence presented by the Plaintiff that she met the definition of “serious medical condition” at the time she took the extended unpaid leave. There are no medical records submitted, no indication of continuing treatment at the time of the Plaintiff’s being out of work from the 4th to the 17th of October of 2011, no evidence, other than the Plaintiff’s conclusory statements, that she suffered depression and anxiety as chronic health conditions. In fact, the only thing the Plaintiff has established is that she told the doctor she did not feel like working and he gave her a note to excuse her from working. There is just nothing here on which to find that the Plaintiff suffered a serious medical condition and without that the cause of action may not proceed.

So, don’t rely on an employee’s say-so. As a condition of qualifying for FMLA leave, an employer may require that the need for leave for a serious health condition of the employee or the employee’s immediate family member be supported by a certification issued by a health care provider.

And if that certification doesn’t sit right with you, go for a second or third opinion. For more on that, check out Jeff Nowak’s post yesterday at FMLA Insights.

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