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California Supreme Court's "Serious Health Condition" Decision: A Serious Headache for Employers

MSK Client Alert
June 2008

The California Family Rights Act ("CFRA"), like the federal Family and Medical Leave Act ("FMLA"), allows an employee to take a medical leave of absence when, due to a "serious health condition," the employee is "unable to perform the functions of the position of that employee." Thus, based on the plain language of the statute,most employers would probably assume that an employee seeking a medical leave from one employer, while at the same time continuing to perform the same job for another employer,would not be entitled to leave. In Lonicki v. Sutter Health Central 43 Cal. 4th 201 (2008), however, the California Supreme Court ruled that a "serious health condition" may make an employee unable to work for one employer, but not another.

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