The federal Seventh Circuit Court of Appeal (covering central states including Indiana) held in Jones v. C&D Technologies, Inc. that an employee was not protected under the FMLA for time off to obtain a prescription refill and that he was therefore properly discharged for absenteeism. The employer's attendance policy afforded employees a certain number of points for absences during the preceding four months. Under the policy, FMLA-protected absences were not counted as an absence. Jones was only a 1/2 point away from termination when he was absent an entire shift purportedly for a doctor's appointment. After an investigation, the company concluded the absence was unprotected time off and terminated Jones for excessive absenteeism. In the lawsuit that followed, Jones alleged that his absence was FMLA protected time off and should not have been counted against him. However, Jones admitted he did not have a scheduled doctor's appointment that morning. He visited the doctor's office, signed in, and obtained a prescription refill note from his doctor. In dismissing the suit, the court held that the absence was unprotected time off. Although obtaining medical "treatment" may be protected under FMLA, the court explained that merely picking up a prescription refill note did not amount to treatment as to protect Jones' absence from work that morning.
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Taking time off work to refill prescription does not qualify for FMLA protection
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