Federal Court of Appeals
Raises Issue of First Class Mail
Insufficient for FMLA Notice
Employer’s MSJ Denied
Many employers send Family and Medical Leave Act notice to absent employees via first class mail. It is a reasonable, cost-effective way to get the notice to the employee who is at home.
But the Third Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision in Lupyan v. Corinthian Colleges, Inc., 761 F.3d 314 (2014), 2014 WL 3824309 (3d Cir. August 5, 2014) casts doubt on the sufficiency of first-class mail. In Lupyan, the employee claimed her FMLA rights were violated because she never received FMLA paperwork from her employer, despite the employer’s claim that it mailed the paperwork to the employee.
According to the court, lacking evidence that the letter was delivered (such as a signature or tracking number), the plaintiff’s denial was sufficient to create an issue of material fact for a jury. Hence the court applied the "mailbox rule" strictly, finding that the employer had failed to establish a rebuttable presumption of delivery.
Clients should consider sending FMLA notices to their employees via a method that can be tracked, such as certified mail return receipt requested, hand delivery, or a common carrier that provides delivery confirmation.