Ohio Employee’s Personal Delivery of FMLA Documents Was Not in Course and Scope of Employment

An Ohio appellate court affirmed a trial court’s finding that injuries sustained by an employee when she slipped and fell while descending a stairway as she left her employer’s HR department on a Sunday evening, after delivering papers related to her Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave of absence, did not arise out of and in the course of her employment [see Samuel v. Progressive Cas. Ins. Co., 2017-Ohio–388, 2017 Ohio App. LEXIS 389 (Feb. 2, 2017)].

While the employee contended that she hand-delivered the papers because several earlier email messages regarding her FMLA leave were not received and she had been given a deadline to produce the papers, the appellate court agreed with the trial court that her argument was undercut by the fact that she placed the papers on an unattended desk on a Sunday evening, when no one was present. There was no evidence introduced that she was required to deliver the documents. Moreover, medical evidence suggested that her fall was the result of an idiopathic condition—she had been subject to dizzy spells. In short, the employee failed to meet the burden of proof that her injuries arose from her employment.

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