U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit
Employment — FMLA
Where an employee was being considered for a promotion as part of a reorganization, but was demoted instead, while she was on FMLA leave, summary judgment was improperly granted to the employer on the employee’s FMLA retaliation claim.
“Viewed through the lens of summary judgment, a reasonable jury could find that Hospira retaliated against Malin for requesting FMLA leave when it did not promote and effectively demoted her as part of the 2006 reorganization. Based on this evidence, a jury could easily find that the reorganization had not been finalized before Malin requested FMLA leave on June 19. Several higher-level positions appear to have still been open as of the June 14 meeting, and Malin was actually listed as a candidate for one of them. Anderson was aware that Malin requested FMLA leave and asked Bochek whether her request would affect his plans in any way. When Malin returned, she found that she had not only failed to receive a promotion as part of the reorganization but had in fact been demoted. This evidence of a causal connection between Malin’s request for FMLA leave and Hospira’s allegedly retaliatory employment action is not conclusive, of course, but it certainly suffices to withstand summary judgment. See Pagel, 695 F.3d at 631 (reversing summary judgment for employer on FMLA retaliation claim; employee can establish causation through ‘a convincing mosaic of circumstantial evidence [that] may include suspicious timing and ambiguous statements from which retaliatory intent can be drawn’).”
Reversed and Remanded.
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Lefkow, J., Hamilton, J.