Lonicki v. Sutter Health Central, 124 Cal. App. 4th 1139 (2004)

Antonina Lonicki, a certified technician of sterile processing, was fired when she failed to return to her job at Sutter, following a leave of absence. During the leave, Lonicki continued to perform the same job duties at Kaiser in the same geographic area. In her lawsuit, Lonicki alleged Sutter had violated the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) by denying her request for a medical leave based upon her belief that her shift at Sutter was "too stressful." The Court of Appeal affirmed summary judgment in favor of Sutter on the ground that Lonicki could not have been suffering from a "serious health condition" because throughout the relevant time period she was successfully performing the functions of an identical job at Kaiser. The Court rejected Lonicki’s assertion that the test for whether an employee cannot perform the functions of the position is employer (not job) specific. Additionally, the Court concluded that the note Lonicki had presented to Sutter (signed by a family nurse practitioner) that said, "Plan return to work 8/27/99 – Medical reasons" was "manifestly insufficient" to establish a qualifying medical condition under the CFRA.