Judge Dismisses FMLA Wrongful Termination Suit

September 11, 2006 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - A federal judge for the US District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin has dismissed a suit filed by a Sturgeon Bay police officer who claimed he was terminated in retaliation for exercising his rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

The Green Bay Press-Gazette reports that the judge determined Paul Theis did not provide evidence of discrimination that a reasonable jury would find in his favor. The Fire and Police Commission said it fired Theis for failing to obey direct orders to undergo psychological, fit-for-duty evaluations.

Theis claimed it was unlawful for him to be ordered to undergo the evaluations, but the judge disagreed. “Ensuring that a police officer is mentally fit for duty is a legitimate concern in any police department,” the judge wrote in the opinion, according to the Press-Gazette.

The judge further pointed out that Theis did not file appropriate procedures for appealing the order, therefore the commission was justified in firing him for insubordination. “Theis admits to refusing to follow the chief’s order, which was a violation of his job’s duties. The FMLA provides no license for insubordination,” the opinion said, according to the news report.