no_alcohol_signA question was posed to me on Twitter this past week: Shouldn’t former University of Southern California (USC) football coach Steve Sarkisian have been placed on FMLA leave to get treatment for apparent alcoholism instead of getting sacked by USC? [Pun intended, of course.]

For those of you not familiar with Mr.

An employee enrolled in an addiction treatment program need not be under a doctor’s care or actually staying at a rehab institution to qualify for FMLA leave, according to a federal court in Texas.  Picarazzi v. John Crane, Inc. (pdf)

The Facts

Plaintiff Perry Picarazzi, a customer service representative for John Crane, Inc.(JCI), had a history of alcoholism, and his alcohol problems clearly led to absenteeism problems in March 2008.  As a result, he was issued a number of “points” under JCI’s attendance policies, which led to progressive discipline.  However, JCI failed to issue this course of discipline until the day it also issued a final warning to Picarazzi, which occurred mere days before his termination in late June 2008.

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