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Garland's Digest on Employment Discrimination Law
online since 1997
 

 


 


Disclaimer: The case on which this summary is based may no longer be current law. Also, if the case was decided on summary judgment, the court recited the "facts" in the light most favorable to the non-movant, which may not be the true facts.

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Plaintiff prevails in FMLA action involving the employer's retroactive cancellation of her insurance benefits.

Ryl-Kuchar v. Care Centers, Inc., 565 F.3d 1027 (7th Cir. May 11, 2009)

Introduction: This is a Family and Medical Leave Act ("FMLA") action alleging interference and retaliation.

Facts: In late 2002, Kathleen Ryl-Kuchar learned that she was due to give birth to triplets. In mid-May 2003, she began to work from home. She was working less than 35 hours per week, but was still receiving full salary and benefits. She was not on FMLA leave.

On July 17, 2003, she gave birth. At short time later, she got right back to work. But after her sisters (who had been helping her) left, she decided to take FMLA leave until fall. When fall arrived, she decided to resign on October 1. In mid-November, Ryl-Kuchar's health insurance was retroactively canceled with an effective date of June 15 -- a month before she gave birth. The employee benefits association affiliated with Care Centers, CCS Veba, had determined that Ryl-Kuchar became a part-time employee in June when she was working from home, thereby losing eligibility for health insurance.

Although this decision was made by CCS Veba -- and not Care Centers -- the plan administrator of CCS Veba was married to the owner of Care Centers; CCS Veba was referred to as the "insurance department" of Care Centers; and the organizations shared the same facilities.

Ryl-Kuchar brought suit alleging that the real reason for the cancellation of her health insurance was her decision to take FMLA leave.   

District court: At trial, the jury found for Ryl-Kuchar and awarded over $30,000 in damages (the total amount of her unpaid medical bills). The district court then awarded prejudgment interest and liquidated damages.

Appeal: On appeal, the Court reviews the facts and concludes that Ryl-Kuchar presented sufficient evidence of retaliation or interference to support the jury verdict.

 

 



 

 


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