Former Ford employee’s FMLA costs reinstated

A former Ford Motor Co. employee was not late in filing his family and sick leave charges against the company, a federal appeals court said Monday as it reinstated the charges and overturned a lower court ruling.

For the first year and a half, Malik Weatherly worked as an assembly line worker at a Ford Motor Co. plant and was excused from working on days he suffered from asthma complications in St. Louis at Malik Weatherly v Ford, according to the 8th Court of Appeals Motor Co.

But about a week after Weatherly submitted documents to Ford to request temporary leave under the FMLA, he was suspended for 30 days for missing too much work, according to Ford. He was fired less than a year later after missing work due to asthma complications.

Several months after Mr. Weatherly filed charges with the Missouri Commission on Human Rights and the US Equal Employment Commission, Ford reinstated him, but for a more physically demanding position.

When Mr. Weatherly informed his manager that his new duties were worsening his scoliosis and one day arrived to work with the physical limitations recommended by the doctor, Ford resigned him and Mr. Weatherly filed additional charges with the state commission and the EEOC a.

Mr. Weatherly filed a lawsuit against Ford in the US District Court in Kansas City, Missouri, on charges of violating the FMLA and the Disabled Americans Act.

The US District Court dismissed all charges and, in the case of the FMLA charges, ruled that Mr. Weatherly was late in filing them.

A three-judge appeals court upheld the dismissal of the ADA indictment but reinstated the FMLA indictment.

The FMLA allows eligible employees to take up to two weeks of unpaid vacation within a period of 12 months to deal with a serious health condition.

The statute of limitations on an FMLA claim is two years for ordinary violations and three years for willful violations, and Mr. Weatherly did not file a lawsuit until about one month after the second anniversary of his suspension.

The district court said he was late in filing these claims because he did not claim willpower. “It may well be that Weatherly’s charges of willpower … implausibly allege that Ford has committed willful FMLA violations,” the ruling reads.

“But we don’t need to answer that question. It is important that Weatherly’s complaint does not take him out of court by stating that the alleged violations were not willful.

“The complaint leaves sufficient ground for evidence of willpower to arise. There may be indications that Ford’s failure to establish and enforce certain policies or provide certain training courses was more deliberate than negligent, ”it said.

At the defense stage, “Weatherly did everything the law required,” read the verdict as the FMLA indictment was reinstated and the case was remitted for further trial.

Mr. Weatherly’s attorney, Joshua P. Wunderlich, a senior executive with Cornerstone’s Kansas City, Missouri law firm, said in a statement: “We are pleased with the court’s decision and look forward to the opportunity to continue our justification work the rights of our clients at the district court. “

Ford’s attorney did not respond to the request for comment.

A federal appeals court ruled earlier this month that a domestic worker who suffered a knee injury and was fired after failing a fit-for-duty exam may be eligible for FMLA medical leave.

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