On December 10, 2012, we reported on a Northern District of Illinois case that held that the Family and Medical Leave Act may have covered an employee’s vacation to Las Vegas with her terminally ill mother.  More details about the case can be found in that post.

A 7th Circuit Appeals panel has just unanimously confirmed the lower court’s decision in Ballard v. Chicago Park District.  In holding that the trial court correctly ruled that such a trip could be covered under the FMLA’s provisions that allow employees to care for seriously ill family members, the 7th Circuit noted that the FMLA is to be broadly interpreted.  The Court also specifically noted that Ms. Ballard’s mother needed physical assistance for her daily health care due to her congestive heart failure and the Ms. Ballard continued to provide that care while on vacation. 

As we cautioned last year when the trial decision came out, employers cannot reject out of hand an employee’s request to accompany an ill family member on a vacation as that may be a losing play under the FMLA.