New opinion — deciding what “overnight” means

Bonkowski v. Oberg Indus. — civil — affirmance — Cowen

A patient was admitted to a hospital for treatment after midnight and, after comprehensive testing, was released over 14 hours later. The patient was fired from his job, allegedly for being absent due to his hospital visit. He sued under the FMLA, which protects employees from retaliation for qualifying absences, including “overnight” hospital stays. Today, a divided Third Circuit panel ruled that when a patient is admitted and discharged on the same calendar day, his treatment is not “overnight” and thus does not trigger FMLA protection.

Joining Cowen was Greenberg; Fuentes dissented. Arguing counsel were Tiffany Waskowicz for the patient and Erin McLaughlin for the employer.