Employees Must Comply with FMLA Notice Requirements


The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed the employer’s right to condition the grant of leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act on compliance with the employer’s “usual notice and procedural requirements.”

In DeVoss v. Southwest Airlines Co., the employee had reported that she would be missing four days of work because of illness, and was provided an FMLA eligibility notice. The employer’s policy required employees to submit an FMLA application within 15 days of receiving an FMLA eligibility notice. Because the employee failed to submit the application, the court found that she had not provided notice of her need for FMLA leave, which resulted in the dismissal of her FMLA interference claim.

This case supports the right of employers to insist on compliance with appropriate notice and procedural requirements for employees seeking FMLA leave. Ensuring such compliance may help an employer better control the use of FMLA leave and potentially crack down on FMLA abuse.