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Hudson v. Tyson Fresh Meats, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

May 22, 2015

Delbert E. Hudson, Plaintiff - Appellant
v.
Tyson Fresh Meats, Inc., Defendant - Appellee

Submitted February 10, 2015.

Page 862

Appeal from United States District Court for the Northern District of Iowa, Waterloo.

For Delbert E. Hudson, Plaintiff - Appellant: Matt J. Reilly, Jeffrey R. Tronvold, Eells & Tronvold, Cedar Rapids, IA.

For Tyson Fresh Meats, Inc., Defendant - Appellee: Espnola Cartmill, Kelsey J. Knowles, Michael R. Reck, Belin & Mccormick, Des Moines, IA.

Before BYE, BEAM, and BENTON, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 863

BENTON, Circuit Judge.

Delbert Eugene Hudson sued Tyson Fresh Meats, Inc. for wrongful termination in violation of the Family Medical Leave Act. The district court granted summary judgment to Tyson. Hudson appeals. Having jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1291, this court reverses and remands.

I.

On December 28, 2011, Hudson did not to come to work as a Tyson supervisor due to illness. Hudson asked his girlfriend (a Tyson employee) to report he was sick and would be out a few days. She told Hudson's supervisor, Hamdija Beganovic, that Hudson would be late or absent on December 28.

According to Hudson, he texted Beganovic before the start of his shift that he was having health issues, would be out a few days, and needed to see a doctor. Tyson's attendance policy, which Hudson had signed, states: " All management Team Members are expected to personally call their direct supervisor to report an unplanned absence or to report that they will be late." Hudson, however, claims he often texted with Beganovic, and at least once before (acceptably) notified Beganovic of an absence by text.

Hudson missed several days of work due to illness, including December 28, 29, and 30. Besides the message from his girlfriend and the text to Beganovic, Hudson did not notify Tyson of his absences. He was not scheduled to work on December 31 or January 1-2. On January 2, he saw a doctor and was diagnosed with, among other issues, back pain and depression. The doctor prescribed medication and created a follow-up plan.

On January 3, Hudson went to Tyson's health services with a doctor's note excusing him from the past week of work, as well as the coming week: " Patient Delbert Hudson has been under my care 12/28/11 to 1/7/12 for illness and was unable to work." Based on the note, Hudson requested ...


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