An employee’s text message to her supervisor telling him that she could not be on call that night because her father was in the emergency room was not a request for FMLA leave. Lanier v. Univ. of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (5th Cir. June 12, 2013). Affirming summary judgment for the employer, the court said the text message was insufficient to inform her supervisor of her intent to request FMLA leave to care for her father. The court observed that the plaintiff had taken FMLA leave previously and knew how to request it, but that the plaintiff’s "only request" was to be relieved of on-call duty that night. "The employer is not required to be clairvoyant," the court said.
Noting that an employer may have an obligation to inquire further if the employee’s statements warrant it, the court rejected the plaintiff’s claim that her text message imposed such an obligation. Also, the fact that the supervisor knew her father was over 90 years of age, in poor health, and was having breathing problems that morning did not suggest that the employer should have made further inquiry.