A Minnesota District Court recently held that a returning to work member of the National Guard was subject to proper termination for failure to comply with his employer’s call-in policy. That policy required all employees to report absences directly to a manager, not just by leaving a voicemail. In this particular instance, the employee, schedule to return to work on a particular date, did talk to his manager and advised that he was feeling ill and would need a few days to recuperate.
The employee, on the following three days left voicemail with his manager stating that he was tested at a local clinic, though the clinic never acknowledged that the employee had the ailment of which the employee complained. A week after his original return date, the employee did tell his manager that he was still sick, and the employee produced a note from the clinic stating he would be out for the next week.
When the next date (two weeks after the employee’s return date) came and went, the employee failed to show up and had not called. As a result of the violation of the employer’s call-in policy, the employer terminated the employee.
Following receipt of that letter, the employee contacted the company claiming that an intervening note had been sent to the employer on the health clinic’s letterhead, though no record of such a note was ever located. The best the employee could do was obtain another letter from the health clinic, but the earliest date that could be provided was the date the most recent letter was actually produced, and nothing for the intervening period.
Unswayed, the company refused to rescind the termination, resulting in the employee suing on the basis of the purported violation of his Family & Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”).
The Minnesota District Court upheld the termination, saying that the company did not interfere with the employee’s rights, clearly placing the burden for compliance on the employee, not the employer.
See To v. U.S. Bankcorp.