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Tampa Personal Injury Lawyers / Blog / Family and Medical Leave Act / Florin Gray Advocates in Landmark Ongoing FMLA Appeal for Stryker Employee

Florin Gray Advocates in Landmark Ongoing FMLA Appeal for Stryker Employee

**Case Background**

Florin Gray recently argued at the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals on behalf of Tristan Tanner in a significant ongoing appeal concerning the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) rights of prospective parents. This pivotal case not only underscores the firm’s dedication to protecting employee rights but also has the potential to set important precedents for similar cases in the future.

The case revolves around Tristan Tanner, an unwed father employed by Stryker Corp. in Florida in 2020. That year, Tanner learned that his daughter would be born later in the year in Connecticut. Complying with the FMLA, Tanner notified his employer months before the anticipated birth and requested FMLA leave, which Stryker approved. Tanner left Florida several days before the due date to ensure his presence at the birth, but ultimately the baby’s arrival was delayed. About one week after the due date—and just after Tanner had exhausted his available paid time off—the baby was born. The day after his daughter’s birth, Stryker called Tanner and terminated him, purportedly for the unexcused absences that he accrued in Connecticut awaiting the birth of his daughter in Connecticut, far from his job in Florida.

Tanner’s appeal challenges the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida’s 2022 ruling in favor of Stryker, which dismissed his claims of FMLA interference and retaliation.

**Key Issues and Arguments**

The FMLA and related regulations allow parents to take FMLA-protected leave “for the birth of a child.” At the heart of the case is the novel issue of whether that protected leave “for the birth” can begin before the child is born when necessary to ensure the parent’s presence at the event. The Eleventh Circuit Court is currently reviewing this issue, which holds significant implications for countless fathers and non-pregnant parents across the country.

Tanner’s argument emphasizes that FMLA regulations already provide protected leave to bond with a newborn child, which leave expressly begins on the day of the child’s birth. Therefore, the separate FMLA regulation providing leave “for the birth” would be meaningless and unnecessary unless it provides at least some reasonable amount of leave before the birth if necessary. Additionally, Tanner argues that denying parents leave prior to the birth would leave parents who work far from the anticipated place of delivery in the impossible position of having to choose between staying at work to ensure that they keep their job or leaving work to ensure their presence at the birth of the child. The court’s
forthcoming ruling is expected to provide essential guidance on this matter, considering the unique circumstances of Tanner’s situation.

**Potential Impact of the Ruling**

This case is particularly important as it underscores the necessity of clear leave policies and open communication between employers and employees regarding FMLA leave. Tanner’s argument emphasizes that employees should not be penalized for taking the leave necessary to be present during critical life events such as the birth of a child.

**Ongoing Fight for Employee Rights**

Florin Gray’s vigorous representation of Tristan Tanner highlights the firm’s unwavering commitment to defending employee rights and ensuring fair treatment under the law. This ongoing case serves as a reminder of the importance of understanding and properly
implementing FMLA regulations to protect the rights of all employees. For more information about Florin Gray and their legal services, please visit Florin Gray.

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