Feeling “Stressed Out” Not Enough By Itself to Warrant FMLA Protection

Thanks to the FMLA Blog for the heads-up on a recent New Jersey case in which the Court considered whether an employee’s statement that he was “stressed out” and didn’t know what to do was enough to put his employer on notice that he had a serious health condition that would qualify him for FMLA leave.

As a reminder, when an employee seeks leave and, even without specifically mentioning a serious health condition or the FMLA, provides the employer with sufficient information to cause a reasonable employer to believe that the leave may be for an FMLA-qualifying serious health condition, the employer has a duty to inquire about the reason for the leave. This is to enable the employer to determine whether the leave in fact is FMLA-qualifying.

Fortunately for employers, this case shows that there is at least some amount of information necessary, before the court will shift the burden to the employer.


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