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Once FMLA Leave Over, So is Right to Job Restoration

An employee’s right to return to his or her job after taking FMLA leave is not extended with an employer’s grant of additional leave.

Kevin Wevodau worked as a Special Agent at Pennsylvania’s Bureau of Criminal Investigations. He ended up testifying against his then boss, Governor Kathleen Kane, before a grand jury. Their relationship became tense. He alleged that she threatened him and ordered him to resign. Instead, Mr. Wevodau submitted a request for a 12-week leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act. His request, based on “personal health issues,” was granted. Seventeen weeks later, Mr. Wevodau tried to return to work. In response, he was told that he needed to take a fitness examination to make certain that he was fit for duty. He did not return to work. Mr. Wevodau claimed that he never received any direction on how to proceed with the fitness examination. During this period of time, his FMLA leave became a paid administrative leave.

After eight months on administrative leave, Mr. Wevodau sued for FMLA retaliation, claiming that he was denied the opportunity to return to work. The federal trial court rejected Mr. Wevodau’s claim that the employer’s granting of additional non-FMLA leave extended his FMLA right to the restoration of his job. Relying on previous Third Circuit Court of Appeals decisions, the court held that employees are not entitled to return to their jobs after FMLA has expired, even when the employer has extended the amount of leave given to the employee. There was no complicating factor, such as an ADA accommodation, that might extend his right to return to his job. The case was dismissed.