On January 14, 2013, the Department of Labor (“DOL”) issued guidance further defining the meaning of “son or daughter” within the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”).  The FMLA provides qualified employees up to 12 weeks of leave within a 12 month period to care for a son or daughter with a serious health condition.  Under certain circumstances, a son or daughter may include an individual over the age of 18, if that individual has a disability.  The DOL now clarifies, that a child over the age of 18 with a disability may qualify as a son or daughter within the FMLA, regardless of the individual’s age when the disability occurred.

Continue Reading DOL Further Expands The Definition Of Son And Daughter Within The FMLA

The U.S. Department of Labor provides general information and compliance guidance regarding numerous wage, hour, employment, and labor laws via “fact sheets” which are available to employees, employers, and the general public. Fact sheets can serve as helpful reference and compliance material for employers. On December 23, 2011, the DOL issued three new fact sheets on the issue of unlawful retaliation.  These newly released fact sheets address retaliation under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”), and the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Workers Protection Act (“MSPA”).

Continue Reading U.S. Department Of Labor Issues New Retaliation Fact Sheets

On August 8, 2011, the Second Circuit issued a decision in Millea v. Metro-North Railroad Co., taking an expansive view of the Family and Medical Leave Act’s (“FMLA”) anti-retaliation provision.  Turning to Title VII for guidance, the Court held that the jury should have received an instruction that broadly defined the term “materially adverse action.”

Continue Reading The Second Circuit Broadens The FMLA’s Anti-Retaliation Provision

The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) prohibits discrimination in hiring and employment decisions based on an individual’s genetic information.  So, for example, a company cannot refuse to hire a woman because her mother had breast cancer.  The law also prohibits requesting, requiring and/or purchasing genetic information, with limited exceptions, and prohibits disclosure of genetic information.  There are many open questions about the law, such as whether companies can have wellness programs anymore (restricted genetic information is routinely gathered as part of such programs) or whether it is a violation of the law for a supervisor to learn about genetic information by accessing an employee’s page on a social networking site, or by asking innocent questions about the employee’s health, such as “How are you?.”  The EEOC issued final regulations last week in an attempt to answer these and other questions under the law.  A short discussion follows.

Continue Reading EEOC Issues Final Regulations On The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act

Under the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”), not only is an “employer” responsible for compliance with the FMLA, but any “successor in interest of an employer” is responsible as well. However, the FMLA does not define the term “successor in interest.” The meaning of this term is crucial because an employee who has worked for an employer for less than 12 months might still be eligible for FMLA protection if that employer is considered a successor in interest to the employee’s former employer and the employee’s combined length of service for both employers is 12 months or more.

Continue Reading Employers Should Be Aware Of The Potential For Successor Liability Under The FMLA

The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 further expands the recent amendments to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which provides leave to qualified employees to care for family members with needs relating to military service.   However, for those employers who rely exclusively on the Department of Labor website for their required postings and certification forms, beware – portions of the Department of Labor’s website have not yet been updated to reflect these changes and reliance upon these outdated materials may cause an employer to inadvertently, yet unlawfully, deny an employee his or her rights under the FMLA.

Continue Reading DOL’s Online Resources Create Pitfalls For Employers

In what has been deemed a victory for many non-traditional families, on June 22, 2010, the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) issued an opinion clarifying the definition of “son or daughter” under the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”).  Now, according to the Administrator’s Interpretation Letter No. 2010-3, any employee who “intends to assume the responsibilities of a parent with regard to a child” and has either “day-to-day” responsibilities for, or “financially supports” that child, is entitled to leave under the Act — even if that employee does not have a traditional biological or legal relationship with the child.

Continue Reading FMLA Update: The Department Of Labor Clarifies The Definition Of “Son Or Daughter”

In a matter of first impression, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recently held that whether a plaintiff with a claim under the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) can recover front pay (and how much) is a question for a judge to decide, not a jury.  Under some statutes, such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, courts have express discretion to “order such affirmative action as may be appropriate, which may include, but is not limited to, reinstatement … or any other equitable relief as the court deems appropriate.” 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(g).  It is well established under Title VII that a court can decide to substitute front pay for reinstatement in some instances, such as when there is a significant degree of animosity between the parties or when reinstatement could displace other employees.

Continue Reading Ninth Circuit: Judges Must Decide Front Pay Awards In FMLA Cases