FMLA Claim Dismissed; Eligibility (1,250 Hours of Work Requirement) Not Alleged

In Arroyo-Horne v. City of New York, 19-2814-cv, 2020 WL 6112273 (2d Cir. Oct. 16, 2020) (Summary Order), the court affirmed the district court’s dismissal of plaintiff’s complain asserting a violation of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Specifically, the plaintiff failed to allege her eligibility under the statue, namely, that she worked 1,250 hours in the relevant time period.

The court provides the following summary of the “black-letter” law:

The FMLA “gives eligible employees an entitlement to twelve workweeks per year of unpaid leave because of a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the functions of the position of such employee” and generally permits the employee to “return to the position [s]he held before the leave or its equivalent.” Sista v. CDC Ixis N. Am., Inc., 445 F.3d 161, 174 (2d Cir. 2006) (internal quotation marks and alteration omitted; emphasis added).

A threshold issue for both FMLA interference claims and FMLA retaliation claims is whether an employee is eligible under the statute to claim its protections. See Graziadio v. Culinary Inst. of Am., 817 F.3d 415, 424 (2d Cir. 2016) (“[T]o prevail on a claim of interference with her FMLA rights, a plaintiff must establish … that she is an eligible employee under the FMLA … [and] that she was entitled to take leave under the FMLA.”); Potenza v. City of New York, 365 F.3d 165, 168 (2d Cir. 2004) (per curiam) (holding that for a prima facie case of FMLA retaliation, a plaintiff must establish that she “exercised rights protected under the FMLA” and “was qualified for [her] position”).

To be eligible for FMLA leave, an employee must have been employed for at least twelve months by the employer from whom she is requesting leave, and she must have worked at least 1,250 hours with that employer in the twelve months prior to the beginning of her medical leave. 29 U.S.C. § 2611(2)(A)[.]

While plaintiff sufficiently alleged that she met the “12 months of employment” element, she did not allege that she worked 1,250 hours in the 12-month period prior to her FMLA leave requests.

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