In Holpp v. Integrated Communications, Corp., No. 03-3383 (WGB), 2005 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 35557 (D.N.J. Dec. 20, 2005), the employee voluntarily offered to help out from home while she was out on six weeks of leave due to back problems. For the first month the employee corresponded with individuals at her company and incurred business-related expenses. When she subsequently informed the company that she could no longer work at home, the company sent her FMLA leave forms. The court found that, while she was entitled to take FMLA leave when she began to stay home, by voluntarily offering to continue working from home the employee did not request leave at that time.
Comments: In ruling in favor of the employer the Holpp court distinguishes the decision in Shtab v. The Great Bay Hoteland Casino, 173 F.Supp. 2d 255 (D.NJ. 2001). In that case, the court found that the employer interfered with the employee’s request for FMLA leave when it asked the employee to delay his leave until it was more convenient for the employer. Here, the court found that the employee either voluntarily agreed to work from home. The decision should be generally applicable to all federal sector FMLA variants.