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Summary Judgment For Employer in FMLA Case Reversed

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By FindLaw Staff on May 12, 2010 3:23 PM

In Goelzer v. Sheboygan County, No. 09-2283, the Seventh Circuit faced a challenge to the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of defendants in plaintiff's suit against her former county employer for her termination two weeks before she was scheduled to begin two months of leave under the  Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), claiming the employer interfered with her right to reinstatement under the Act and retaliated against her for taking FMLA leave. 

As the court wrote: "A jury might be swayed by comments [supervisor] made that could suggest frustration with [plaintiff's] use of FMLA leave.  In her 2002 performance evaluation, for instance, [the supervisor] explicitly contrasted [plaintiff's] use of FMLA leave with her past 'excellent' attendance." 

Thus, in reversing the district court's summary judgment against the plaintiff, the court held that plaintiff has put forth enough evidence for this case to reach a trier of fact, including comments suggesting her supervisor's dissatisfaction with her use of FMLA leave, her positive performance reviews, and the timing of her termination. 

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