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Who Signed that Doctor's Note?

The 8th Circuit recently held that the FLSA's "continuing treatment" requirement means more than just walking into a clinic and leaving with a prescription. In Johnson v. Wheeling Mach, Prods. (8th Cir. No. 13-3786 Feb. 20, 2015) the employer terminated the Plaintiff after violations of the company attendance policy. The Plaintiff claimed interference with his FMLA rights because he left work early with a headache, blurred vision, stiff neck, and back pain. Upon leaving work, the Plaintiff claims he visited a walk-in clinic where a physician's assistant, whom he had never met, diagnosed him with high blood pressure and gave him a prescription.

The court held that the FMLA regulations do not allow for protected leave after a single visit combined with a course of medications. Instead, under the FMLA, the treatment must be under the "supervision" of the plaintiff's healthcare provider. The record showed that the physician's assistant was not the Plaintiff's regular health care provider and the P.A. never asked the Plaintiff to follow up on his condition. Therefore, the Plaintiff was not "under a regimen of continuing treatment under the supervisions of a health care provider."

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Topics: Appeal, Attendance Policy, Best Practices, FMLA, Leave