So your employee comes to you and requests time off to care for her mother. You find out that sadly, her mother is dying from end-stage congestive heart failure and is receiving some hospice care. Your employee then begins her unpaid leave and you later notify her that her request is denied and that she is terminated.
Reason? You hear that the employee went to Las Vegas. Place your bet. Court decision: Employer bust. (yeah, I had to throw in at least one Vegas reference here).
The court reviewed the request for leave and on appeal ultimately decided that the employer violated FMLA. The opinion explained that the employee did in fact go to Vegas and did in fact take care of her mother while there. The court said, it would have made no difference if they were in Vegas or in Chicago. So long as the mother had a serious health condition and needed care which daughter provided, it was FMLA qualifying.
Lesson: Don’t jump to conclusions just because you hear your employee went somewhere more desirable than Barrow, Alaska, (the coldest place in America – subzero days a year: 160), doesn’t mean its automatically not FMLA.