An employer had an ”honest suspicion” that an employee was not using FMLA for its intended purpose based in part on the report of a private investigator, according to the Seventh Circuit. The Court affirmed summary judgment for the employer. Scruggs v. Carrier Corporation. (7th Cir. August 3, 2012).
The employer had hired the investigator to follow approximately 35 employees it believed may have been misusing leave or had a high incidence of unexcused absences.. According to the decision, the plaintiff took an FMLA day to pick up his mother from a nursing home and take her to a doctor’s visit. The investigator had reported that the plaintiff did not leave his home that day other than to get his mail from the mailbox. Documentation the plaintiff provided, which seemed to suggest that plaintiff mistakenly brought his mother to her doctor’s appointment more than six weeks early and an hour before he signed his mother out of the nursing home, also supported the employer’s “honest suspicion,” according to the Court.