Organ Donation = FMLA Serious Health Condition

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Yesterday, the DOL issued an opinion letter addressing whether organ-donation surgery qualifies as a “serious health condition” under the FMLA.  Although an employee who donates an organ is in good health before the donation and affirmatively elects to donate an organ to help someone else, the DOL concluded that: “An organ donation can qualify as an impairment or physical condition that is a serious health condition under the FMLA when it involves either “inpatient care” or “continuing treatment.”  The DOL also explained that: “Organ-donation surgery… commonly requires overnight hospitalization … and that alone suffices for the surgery and the post-surgery recovery to qualify as a serious health condition.”

The DOL opinion interprets the FMLA.  However, OFLA would likely be interpreted similarly given that OFLA’s definition of “serious health condition” parallels the FMLA definition.  Oregon employers should also remember that ORS 659A.312 provides that employees can use accrued paid leave to donate bone marrow.

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