In Kinchion v. Cessna Aircraft, Co., No. 07-1134-JTM, 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 59683 (D. Kan. Aug. 14, 20007), the employee requested FMLA leave on February 7, 2007, to attend a medical appointment incident to his diagnosis with diabetes. The employer denied him leave because he had only worked 532 hours in the 12-month period prior to the medical appointment.
Kinchion had previously suffered a workplace injury to his hand. In February 2006, it was determined that Kinchion's job duties exceded his medical limitations. Cessna placed Kinchion on an unpaid leave of absence. Kinchion collected unemployment. He was subsequently awarded workers' compensation disability benefits by a U.S. Department of Labor administrative law judge for htis period.
Kinchion sued alleging violations of the ADA and FMLA. Kinchion asserted that he was wrongfully discharged in violation of the ADA for filing a workers' compensation claim. Kinchion also alleged that his wrongful discharge interfered with his FMLA rights by preventing him from accumulating the necessary 1250 required services hours. Had he not been terminated in violation of the ADA, Kinchion argued, he would have worked the necessary 1250 hours to be eligible for FMLA leave to attend the medical apointment for his diabetes.
The Court initlaly found that the time Kinchion spent on an unpaid leave of absence did not count towards the 1250 hours eligibility requirement. The Court further found that it "would be speculative for the court to credit Kinchion with the hours of service lost during his leave of absence without pay, even if he was ultimately successful on his wrongful discharge claim." Because he was not eligible at the time his request for FMLA leave was denied in 2007, the court concluded that Kinchion failed to establish an FMLA intereference claim.
Comment: Courts have been decidedly unreceptive to employee claims that they would have met the FMLA eligibilty requirements but for some other wrongful conduct, be it a vioaltion of law or the terms of a collective bargaining agreement, by the employer.