Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review a decision by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals holding that a multi-month leave of absence is beyond the scope of a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The plaintiff in Severson v. Heartland Woodcraft, Inc. had asked the Supreme Court to decide whether there is a per se rule that a finite leave of absence of more than one month cannot be a reasonable accommodation under the ADA. Without the Supreme Court stepping in to resolve the split among the federal circuit courts, employers are left without clear guidance as to how to navigate the interplay between the ADA and extended leaves of absence.
Ah, the tell-tale signs of March are here. The winter is starting to dissipate in the northern climes, we’ve set the clocks forward, and Syracuse is bound for another Final Four run. Unfortunately, most teams won’t be so lucky and many coaches will soon find themselves on a beach. And why not? After a long, hard-fought season that fell just a bit short, might as well take a warm-weather vacation – go for a quick swim, maybe hit the amusement park, and take a few pictures of all the fun in the sun and post them to Facebook. Sounds like a marvelous idea for many NCAA coaches, but not so much for employees out on FMLA leave. The plaintiff in Jones v. Gulf Coast Health Care of Delaware, a recent case out of a Florida federal court, learned this the hard way.