Federal Court Rules Against Employees Who Abuse Leaves of Absence

The U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware has provided summary judgment holding that the company DuPont did not terminate employee Peggy Snyder in violation of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

In this case, Snyder had taken three months of disability leave under FMLA to recover from posterior tibial tendon reconstruction of her foot. Her FMLA certification form stated that she was not to bear weight on her foot for ten weeks following the surgery.

During this time, another employee of Dupont reported that Snyder was walking at a party and that other employees had witnessed prior abuse of the companies leave program by Snyder. In response to this, Dupont hired a private investigator to determine if Snyder was acting inconsistently with her doctor’s restrictions.

Video surveillance confirmed that Snyder committed several violations of her doctor’s orders. Subsequently, DuPont terminated Snyder’s employment, to which Snyder responded with multiple suits, which included FMLA retaliation.

The court granted summary judgment in favor of DuPont due to possessing a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for surveillance, as well as possessing a right to prevent abuse of FMLA. Therefore, no retaliation occurred.