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No FMLA to Care for Niece and Nephew

An employee who sought Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave to care for his niece and nephew failed to advance his claims for FMLA interference and retaliation.
Edward Brede asked his employer Apple Computer Inc. for intermittent leave to take care of his niece and nephew because of his sister’s serious medical condition. Brede asserted that he was “In Loco Parentis” to the minors and would need one day every two weeks to care for them. Apple denied him a promotion allegedly because of his “inability to come to work.” He also received a negative performance evaluation because of his missed work. Brede was ultimately fired because of a violation of company policy regarding a customer’s computer. However, Brede sued, alleging he was fired in violation of his rights under FMLA.
A federal district court in Ohio considered whether Brede was seeking leave that qualified under the FMLA. The Act protects leave to “care for the spouse, or a son, daughter, or parent of the employee, if such spouse, son, daughter, or parent has a serious health condition.” “Son or daughter” is defined to include “a child of a person standing in loco parentis.” The court concluded that his request for leave was not FMLA-qualifying. The minor children were not suffering a serious health condition that required his care; it was his sister that had a serious health condition. The FMLA does not entitle an employee to take leave to care for a sibling with a serious health condition.