White v. County of Los Angeles, 2014 WL 1478701 (Cal. Ct. App. 2014)

Susan White worked as a Senior District Attorney Investigator with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. Following the death of her brother-in-law, White began experiencing emotional difficulties on the job and was observed acting erratically in the workplace with “very high emotional highs and very low lows.” At one point, White, who carried a weapon, described herself as a “whack job.” White eventually took a Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) leave of absence because of her own serious health condition. Before returning from that leave, White submitted a letter from her doctor stating that she was able to return to work and perform the essential functions of the job. Upon returning from the leave, White was placed on paid administrative leave and reassigned to her home. The DA then required that White submit to a medical reevaluation pursuant to Los Angeles County Civil Service Rule 9.07 based upon her erratic conduct prior to her FMLA leave. After White twice refused to appear for the medical reevaluation, her employment was terminated. White then filed this lawsuit and obtained a permanent injunction preventing the DA from requiring a medical reevaluation based on her conduct prior to the FMLA leave and from charging her with insubordination for failing to submit to the medical reevaluation. The Court of Appeal reversed, holding that the return-to-work certification that White had obtained from her doctor did not preclude a potential finding of unfitness for duty and that the DA’s order that White appear for a medical reevaluation did not violate the FMLA.