The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Virginia M. Kendall
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Plaintiff Beverly Stevenson ("Stevenson" or "Plaintiff") has brought suit against her former employer, Hyre Electric Company ("Hyre" or "Defendant") for violation of the Family Medical Leave Act ("FMLA"), 29 U.S.C. § 2601 et seq. The parties agree that no material facts are in dispute and have filed cross-motions for summary judgment. Because Plaintiff did not give required notice to Defendant that she was requesting leave, and because Plaintiff cannot show as a matter of law that she was entitled to FMLA leave, Defendant's motion for summary judgment is granted.
Plaintiff's Employment At the time of her termination, Stevenson had been employed by Hyre as a receptionist and clerical assistant in the purchasing department for approximately eight years. Plaintiff's Response to Defendant's Local Rule 56.1 Statement of Uncontested Material Facts at ¶ 9-10 (hereafter "Pltf.'s Resp. Def. 56.1 at ¶ __").*fn1 While employed, Plaintiff was a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers ("Union"), of which Hyre is also a member. Pltf.'s Resp. Def. 56.1 at ¶¶ 4, 13. Stevenson had never been disciplined or reprimanded for any performance, attendance, or tardiness issues until the events leading to this suit. Defendant's Local Rule 56.1(b)(3) Response to Plaintiff's Local Rule 56.1 Statement of Allegedly Uncontested Facts at ¶ 2. (hereafter "Def.'s Resp. Pltf. 56.1 at ¶ __").
Although the parties dispute whether Plaintiff was an "at-will" employee, Plaintiff agrees that she understood that she could quit or be fired at any time. Pltf.'s Resp. Def. 56.1 at ¶ 12. Hyre had an employment manual that detailed the Family and Medical Leave Policies, and explained that an employee could have no more than three unexcused absences in a 90-day period. Pltf.'s Resp. Def. 56.1 at ¶¶ 20, 26. The parties dispute whether Plaintiff ever received a copy of the "Hyre Employment Manual." Pltf.'s Resp. Def. 56.1 at ¶¶ 18-19.*fn2 The manual was produced during discovery and is dated 1994, prior to Plaintiff's hiring. Def. Ex. 1.
Plaintiff's Absence from Work, February 9-17, 2004
On February 9, 2004, around 10:00 a.m., a stray dog entered the warehouse area where Stevenson worked through an open warehouse door. Pltf.'s Resp. Def. 56.1 at ¶ 31. When the dog approached Plaintiff, she felt a pop in her head, developed a flush and a headache, and felt disoriented. Pltf.'s Resp. Def. 56.1 at ¶ 32. Stevenson felt as if she might be having a stroke. Pltf.'s Resp. Def. 56.1 at ¶ 32. Around 12:30 p.m., Plaintiff telephoned the lunch room and spoke with Hay Lee Yuen ("Yuen"), the accounting manager, and stated that she did not feel well and was going home. Pltf.'s Resp. Def. 56.1 at ¶ 36. Plaintiff did not see a doctor or go to the hospital on the day of the 9th. Pltf.'s Resp. Def. 56.1 at ¶ 37.
On February 10, 2004, Stevenson left a voicemail for her supervisor, Mary Cicchetti ("Cicchetti"), stating that she "wasn't feeling well and . . . wouldn't be in today." Pltf.'s Resp. Def. 56.1 at ¶ 38. On that same day, she went to the hospital for an unrelated medical test. Pltf.'s Resp. Def. 56.1 at ¶ 40. While at the hospital, she did not see her primary care physician ("Dr. Liszek"). Pltf.'s Resp. Def. 56.1 at ¶ 42.
The next day, February 11, 2004, Plaintiff came to the office at 7:05 a.m. to speak with Hyre's president, Charles Guest ("Guest"), about stray animals in the workplace. Pltf.'s Resp. Def. 56.1 at ¶ 44, Stevenson Dep. at 172-81. During that meeting, Stevenson did not say anything to Guest about her medical problems. Pltf.'s Resp. Def. 56.1 at ¶ 45. At 7:30 a.m., however, she told Cicchetti that "she could not work" and left Hyre. Pltf.'s Resp. Def. 56.1 at ¶¶ 48-49.
That afternoon, on February 11, Plaintiff filed a complaint with OSHA regarding stray animals at Defendant's workplace. Pltf.'s Resp. Def. 56.1 at ¶ 51. Plaintiff also went to the emergency room, where she was examined by a doctor for complaints of headaches, insomnia, loss of appetite, and an "emotionally stressful incident at work on Monday,". Pltf.'s Resp. Def. 56.1 at ¶ 53. The doctors ordered an EKG test and a CAT scan, both of which returned normal. Stevenson was discharged with a diagnosis of anxiety and was precribed a dose of Ativan to calm her nerves. Pltf.'s Resp. Def. 56.1 at ¶¶ 59-61.
On February 12, 2004, Stevenson left a message for Cicchetti stating that she was ill and would not be in that day. Pltf.'s Resp. Def. 56.1 at ¶ 70. Also on February 12, she met with a Union representative, Richard Sipple ("Sipple"), to discuss the incident on February 9th involving the stray dog. Pltf.'s Resp. Def. 56.1 at ¶ 72-73. During the meeting with the Union representative, Plaintiff mentioned that she was "off sick" but did not give specifics about her health or her medical condition. Pltf.'s Resp. Def. 56.1 at ¶ 74. On the mornings of February 13 and February 16, a Friday and a Monday respectively, Plaintiff called in sick to Cicchetti but gave no specifics about her condition. Pltf.'s Resp. Def. 56.1 at ¶¶ 78, 88.
The Events of February 17-24
On February 17, Plaintiff went to work at 7 a.m. Pltf.'s Resp. Def. 56.1 at ¶ 92. Cicchetti had boxed up the contents of Plaintiff's desk and moved the contents to another room, the same room as she had occupied during her first years as an employee at Hyre. Pltf.'s Resp. Def. 56.1 at ¶ 93-94. Cicchetti moved Plaintiff's office as an accommodation to Stevenson's fear of stray animals. Pltf.'s Resp. Def. 56.1 at ¶ 95. After working a few hours, Stevenson left Hyre at 10:15 a.m. after telling Cicchetti that she was not well. Pltf.'s Resp. Def. 56.1 at ¶¶ 92, 104. Plaintiff left copies of her February 11 emergency room record on Yuen's desk, but did not otherwise tell anyone where she had been for the previous eight days. Pltf.'s Resp. Def. 56.1 at ¶¶ 102, 105, 106.
After Stevenson left Hyre on February 17, Guest gave Cicchetti permission to change the locks on the doors of Hyre's office. Pltf.'s Resp. Def. 56.1 at ¶¶ 108-09. Also on February 17, Guest sent a letter via Fed Ex to Plaintiff's home. Pltf.'s Resp. Def. 56.1 at ¶ 113. The letter stated in relevant part:
You no longer have any accrued vacation or sick leave available. Therefore, any additional leave must be governed by Hyre's Family and Medical Leave Policy. Under the provisions of Hyre's Employment Manual, you are required to obtain a medical certification from your physician or other health care provider for a serious health condition FMLA leave. If you do not do so within fifteen (15) days from the commencement of your leave or by Tuesday, February 24, 2004, your absences will be deemed unexcused and you will be terminated from Hyre's employ.
Pltf.'s Resp. Def. 56.1 at ¶ 116. Plaintiff did not call Defendant for any clarification of the letter. Pltf.'s ...