United States District Court, D. Rhode Island
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
J. MCCONNELL, JR., UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
question before the Court is how much notice an employee must
give in order to invoke the Family and Medical Leave Act and
the Rhode Island Parental and Family Medical Leave Act. The
simple answer in this case is: a jury should
Goss worked as an assistant mold maker and then incoming
quality control inspector for Umicore USA, Inc. for three
years. Umicore regularly warned Mr. Goss about his
absenteeism and tardiness, which, even taking the facts in
the light most favorable to him, were excessive. His
supervisor warned Mr. Goss that "[f]ailure to show
immediate and sustained improvement may result in corrective
action up to and including termination of employment."
In December of 2013, Mr. Goss had two periods of absence due
to illnesses that set the stage for this action.
Goss was out of work from Wednesday, December 11, 2013,
through Friday, December 13, 2013, due to bronchitis. He had
already used all of his sick time. He texted his supervisor
that he had been "up all night coughing and throwing
up." The two exchanged text messages the following two
days concerning Mr. Goss' medical progress. He returned
to work the following Monday and gave his supervisor a
doctor's note that said he had had an "upper
respiratory infection" but was now cleared to work. The
doctor's note was dated Friday, December 13, 2013.
Goss was late to work the day after he returned from his
three-day illness. That week, Umicore issued him a
"final written discipline warning for over usage of
[his] sick time."
second period of absence began on Friday, December 27, 2013.
On that day, Mr. Goss sent his supervisor a text message
indicating: "I know you are not in but not sure who else
to text. 103* fever and violently vomiting all night.
Physically can't get in. Have flu."
Monday, December 30, 2013, Mr. Goss sent his supervisor
another text message stating in pertinent part: "I'm
still having debilitating pain in my stomach. I'm going
back to my doctor today. My wife and son are also really sick
and I need to take them in to see someone also. Sorry,
I'll try to get in tomorrow to help with end of
month." Mr. Goss texted later that day:
Just got out of doctors - thinks I'm on the mend but
still a little dehydrated and said my intestines are inflamed
which is why I am in pain and haven't eaten since
Thursday. Won't be back until this Thursday. Have to rest
and get fluids. I know warning said it was my last but this
could not be prevented due to severe illness. I apologize.
Thursday, January 2, 2014, Mr. Goss sent his supervisor
another text message: "I'm still sick and in a lot
of pain. Not going to be in today." His supervisor
replied the same day, asking how Mr. Goss was doing. In
reply, Mr. Goss stated, "Nausea and temp are gone but my
stomach is still hurting bad. Just started eating yesterday.
Lost about 15 lbs. Gonna try to get in tomorrow if my stomach
is ok. Doctor said they can fax my note if I go in."
Later that day, Mr. Goss sent his supervisor another text
message indicating that he would try to make it in the next
day and that he would text his supervisor in the morning and
let him know whether he would be in or not.
Friday, January 3, 2014, Mr. Goss sent another text message
indicating that he would be out of work again: "Was up
all night with my stomach again. Won't be in today. Will
bring the 2 doctor's notes I have from walk-in and my
doctor on Monday."
the next week starting on Monday, January 6, 2014, Mr. Goss
sent his supervisor the following text messages:
• Stomach isn't any better. In a lot of pain. Going
back to doctor ...