In Knapp v. America West Airlines, Inc., No. 2:01CV793 TC, 2005 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 30511 (D.Utah Nov. 18, 2005), the employee, a pilot, alleged that America West violated the FMLA when it denied her leave to care for her son. America West moved to dismiss the case alleging that Ms. Knapp did not meet the 1250 work-hours requirement and, therefore, was not eligible for FMLA leave. The court counted 400 hours Ms. Knapp served on active duty or in training during the twelve months preceding the commencement of the FMLA leave at issue. The court also counted 364 hours of “layover time” spent by Ms. Knapp. Layover time is time spent away from home between flights during which she was required to remain at the airport, she was prohibited from consuming alcohol, and was required to rest for eight hours. Applying FLSA principles, the court found such restrictions sufficient to impede Ms. Knapp’s personal pursuits. The court declined to count “reserve time” toward the 1250 hours. While on reserve, Ms. Knapp could not drink alcohol. She also had to be available by pone and be able to report to the airport within one hour of a telephone call. She could, however, serve reserve time at home. The court concluded that such restrictions were not so severe that they render those hours compensable and, therefore, such hours did not count towards the FMLA’s 1250 work hours eligibility requirement.
Comment: The 1250 work hours eligibility requirement is determined based applies to federal sector employees covered by Title I, the CAA, and the PEOAA. It does not apply to civil service employees covered by Title II. Employee eligibility is addressed in Chapter 5 of A Federal Sector Guide to the Family and Medical Leave Act & Related Litigation (Dewey Publications, Inc. 2003 & 2005 Supp.).