Charles? Tellis? was? fired? by ?his? employer? after taking leave under the FMLA to care for his wife who was suffering late-stage pregnancy difficulties. During the leave, his vehicle broke down so he flew to Atlanta to pick up another vehicle that he owned, and drove it back to Seattle. Although he regularly called his wife during his trip, his employer asserted that he breached the conditions of ?his ?leave ?and ?fired ?him? when ?he ?refused ?to accept a disciplinary letter in his file.?? The Ninth Circuit affirmed summary judgment for the employer holding: ??Instead of participating in his wife?s ongoing treatment by staying with her, he left her for almost four days. Tellis claims his trip provided psychological reassurance to his wife, but he did not travel to Atlanta to participate in his wife?s ?medical? care.?? ?Having? a? working? vehicle may have provided psychological reassurance; however, that was merely an indirect benefit of an otherwise unprotected activity ? traveling away from the person needing care?.Common sense suggests that the phone calls Tellis made do not fall within? ?the? ?scope? ?of? ?the? ?FMLA?s? ??care? ?for? requirement.?? ?Tellis v. Alaska Airlines, Inc., No. 04-35137 (07/12/05; Hug, Thompson, McKeown).
Traveling to Replace the Family Car is Not Activity ?to Care for? an Ailing Spouse within the Meaning of the FMLA
Jul 12, 2005