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United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
May 3, 2022, Argued; August 15, 2022, Decided
[*729] DIAZ, Circuit Judge:
Kasey Roberts appeals the district court's grant of summary judgment to his former employer, Gestamp West Virginia, LLC, on his Family & Medical Leave Act ("FMLA") and common law retaliatory-discharge claims. Gestamp fired Roberts after he missed work due to a recurring infection from an emergency appendectomy. The district court granted Gestamp's summary judgment motion because Roberts, it said, didn't comply with the company's "usual and customary" absentee notice procedures, as the FMLA requires. 29 C.F.R. § 825.303(c). And Roberts's common law claims failed because he hadn't shown an FMLA violation. [**2]
On appeal, Roberts contends the district court erred because, through his dealings with Gestamp, the company's "usual and customary" notice procedures for leaves of absence expanded beyond those in its written policy. And Roberts argues that he complied with his FMLA obligations by notifying Gestamp of his absences over Facebook Messenger, which the company had previously accepted. We agree with Roberts's reading of the FMLA regulations and find that he's raised a jury question on whether using Facebook Messenger satisfied the Act's requirements.
But Gestamp counters that even if Roberts's initial notice were adequate, he neglected his FMLA obligation to update the company on the duration of his absence, defeating his FMLA-interference claim. On this too, Roberts has raised a material factual dispute to survive summary judgment. So we vacate the district court's [*730] judgment on his interference claim and remand.
That said, we agree with Gestamp that the district court properly granted judgment against Roberts's FMLA-retaliation and common law retaliatory-discharge claims. Because Roberts hasn't offered enough evidence that Gestamp fired him in retaliation for exercising his FMLA rights, we [**3] affirm the district court's judgment on those claims.
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
45 F.4th 726 *; 2022 U.S. App. LEXIS 22597 **
KASEY A. ROBERTS, Plaintiff - Appellant, v. GESTAMP WEST VIRGINIA, LLC, Defendant — Appellee.
Prior History: [**1] Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia, at Charleston. Irene C. Berger, District Judge. (2:19-cv-00854).
Roberts v. Gestamp W. Va., LLC, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 193309, 2020 WL 6142258 (S.D. W. Va., Oct. 19, 2020)
Disposition: AFFIRMED IN PART, VACATED IN PART, AND REMANDED.
notice, Facebook, messages, customary, call-in, termination, fired, cleaned, district court, employees, notify, infection, summary judgment, return to work, common law, regulations, rights, hospital stay, wrongful-discharge, retaliation, attendance, motivation, emergency, contends, unusual circumstances, termination date, reasonable jury, miss work, hospitalized, obligations
Civil Procedure, Appeals, Standards of Review, De Novo Review, Summary Judgment, Appellate Review, Standards of Review, Judgments, Entitlement as Matter of Law, Entitlement as Matter of Law, Genuine Disputes, Appropriateness, Evidence, Inferences & Presumptions, Inferences, Labor & Employment Law, Leaves of Absence, Family & Medical Leaves, Burdens of Proof, Retaliation, Statutory Application, Family & Medical Leave Act, Business & Corporate Compliance, Posting & Recordkeeping, Scope & Definitions, Covered Employees, Restoration of Benefits & Positions, Employee Leave Requirements, Discrimination, Wrongful Termination, Public Policy, Exceptions, Tort Exceptions, Public Policy Violations