Injured employee could also be entitled to federal medical depart: Court docket

A domestic worker who suffered a knee injury and was fired after failing a fit-for-duty exam may be eligible for medical leave under the federal law on family and sick leave, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday.

In 2016, Noorjahan Ramji seriously injured her knee while working at hospital housekeeping. This told her “nothing of her rights under the FMLA, treating the violation solely as a claim for workers’ damages,” according to documents in Noorjahan Ramji v. Hospital Housekeeping Systems LLC filed in the 11th Atlanta Court of Appeals.
After a few days off and a temporary assignment in light duty, Ms. Ramji received medical clearance to return to her regular duty position. Before the hospital cleaners allowed this, Ms. Ramji first had to pass an essential function test, which required her to perform certain physical tasks that the doctor who released her was not reported to have informed.

“Among other things, Ramji had to repeat deep squats and bend to one knee. Although Ramji was able to do several of these exercises, she developed pain in her injured knee before she finished all of them, ”the records say. As a result, Ms. Ramji failed the test and was discharged from hospital housekeeping.

“At no time prior to the discharge from hospital housekeeping did Ms. Ramji inform Ramji of her rights under the FMLA or give Ramji the opportunity to take twelve uninterrupted weeks of vacation to rehabilitate her knee, even though the FMLA entitled her to this relief . ” Documents state.

Ms. Ramji filed a lawsuit alleging infringement of her FMLA rights. At the district court, the parties filed counter motions for a summary judgment, with hospital housekeeping attempting in part to avoid liability under the FMLA by pointing out that its employees are complying with their compensation obligations.

The district court ruled in favor of the hospital cleaning and wrote that Ms. Ramji’s doctor had cleared her for work with an impairment of 0% and that “because of these circumstances, the district court had concluded that the hospital cleaning could not have completed her claim on vacation according to the FMLA ”, it says in the documents.

The appeals court overturned and remanded it for trial, stating that employers “are prohibited from interfering, limiting, or refusing an employee’s efforts to exercise any FMLA right” and that “providing employee compensation does not deprive an employer of any obligations can exempt from the FMLA. ”

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