Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Home / Opinion / 09-1775 Righi v. SMC Corporation of America

09-1775 Righi v. SMC Corporation of America


The termination of an employee who took time off work because of a family member’s medical emergency, but failed to communicate with the employer during the absence, did not violate the FMLA.

“[T]he regulations explicitly provide that employers may require their employees to comply with their “usual and customary notice and procedural requirements” when requesting FMLA leave. Id. § 825.302(d). SMC had a written policy requiring its employees to obtain approval for leave from their supervisors. SMC’s attendance policy also stated that an unapproved absence of two consecutive days or more was grounds for termination. We have previously held that an employee’s failure to comply with his employer’s internal leave policies and procedures is a sufficient ground for termination and forecloses an FMLA claim. Brown, 622 F.3d at 689-90; Ridings, 537 F.3d at 769 n.3, 771; Lewis v. Holsum of Fort Wayne, Inc., 278 F.3d 706, 710 (7th Cir. 2002); Gilliam, 233 F.3d at 971. Righi never obtained King’s approval for his leave, and his unapproved absence persisted for far longer than the two days contemplated by the regulations. Of course, an employer cannot deny FMLA leave when an employee has a legal entitlement to it. But Righi’s failure to follow the applicable regulatory and workplace requirements for notifying his employer of the expected duration of his leave forecloses his FMLA interference claim.”


09-1775 Righi v. SMC Corporation of America

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois, McDade, J., Sykes, J.

Full Text

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *