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Employer’s Honest Belief Governed Decision to Fire says Court

The employer fired the employee because its investigation led it to believe that the employee was trying to slow production. The employee argued that the couldn’t come in on a weekend because he believed he needed to take his son to the hospital. Co-workers said he had planned to visit a casino and he had told them not to volunteer for overtime so he – as a supervisor – wouldn’t have to come in. The employee sued under FMLA and ADA and the case is dismissed on summary judgment. The court affirmed.

The Court ruled that the employer had an honest belief based on its investigation and upheld summary judgment on the ADA claim. The employee sued under FMLA arguing that the company had discouraged his use of FMLA when it suspended and investigated him regarding the refusal to work on the weekend. The Court rejected this theory since the employee did not show that employer had denied him entitlements under FMLA. The employee also filed a discrimination claim arguing that both the suspension and termination were pretextual. The Court denied the FMLA retaliation claim for the reasons that it denied the ADA claim. It then addressed the suspension and added, “Placement on paid administrative leave pending an investigation does not meet [the standard of an adverse employment action].”