By Claire B. Carter, Esq., Associate

The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to review a ruling from the 7th Circuit Appeals Court, Severson v. Heartland Woodcraft, Inc.. In Severson, an employee requested an additional two to three months of medical leave from his employer after taking 12 weeks medical leave under the Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”). The employer fired the employee and the employee sued the employer for violating the Americans with Disability Act (“ADA”), by failing to provide a reasonable accommodation for his physical disability. The Appeals Court sided with the employer, holding that short leaves of absence from employment may be required as a reasonable accommodation under the ADA, but that long-term medical leaves are “beyond the scope of a reasonable accommodation,” as they fall within the purview of the FMLA, not the ADA. Declining to review this case by the U.S. Supreme Court means that the Appeals Court’s ruling continues to only impact Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana. However, employers in other states should remain cautious before firing an employee for requesting a multi-month leave of absence.


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