An office manager said that when she told her employer she was pregnant, it told her that she could take up to three months of FMLA leave but pressured her to return to work sooner.
She and her supervisor agreed that she would take six weeks of leave, after which she would begin working from home for about two months and then return to the office.
The employer put her on a performance improvement plan while she was working from home and then revoked the work-from-home arrangement.
She told it she could not get childcare right away, and it terminated her employment.
Then, she filed a lawsuit alleging violations of Title VII and the FMLA.
A lower court ruled for the employer, and the employee appealed.
The appeals court agreed that the employee did not prove a Title VII violation.
The employer said it terminated her employment because it needed someone who could be in the office and because her work from home was not satisfactory.
No Pretext Shown
The employee did not show these reasons to be a pretext for unlawful discrimination, so her discrimination claim was properly rejected, the appeals court said.
As to the FMLA claim, the court noted that the employer did not have enough employees to be subject to the statute.
The employee said the employer should not be able to rely on that argument because it told her she was eligible for FMLA leave.
But the employee did not rely on that representation to her detriment, the appeals court explained. As a result, the argument did not save the claim she raised under the FMLA.
Battino v. Redi-Carpet Sales of Utah, LLC, No. 20-4081, 2021 WL 4144974 (10th Cir. 9/13/21).