Many buyers in asset sales may assume that if the seller and buyer agree that the buyer does not assume the seller’s liabilities, the buyer would have no liability for employment-related issues pertaining to the seller prior to the sale.  A recent Seventh Circuit decision authored by the influential Judge Posner in Teed v. Thomas & Betts Power Solutions, L.L.C. reminds purchasers that their assumption is not necessarily true, as the Seventh Circuit noted that when liability is based upon a violation of a federal labor or employment statute, courts apply a more aggressive standard of successor liability than the typical state-law standard to which courts might otherwise look.


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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.

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