U. S. Supreme Court Clarifies Scope of FMLA Coverage For Employers

By Eric B. Meyer

Yesterday, the United States Supreme Court in Coleman v. Court of Appeals of Md. held that state employees have no cause of action under the self-care provision (see last bullet point in the hyperlink) of the Family and Medical Leave Act.

In plain English, if you work for a State employer, and you need time off work for a serious health condition that leaves you unable to perform the essential functions of your job, the FMLA does not require that your employer give you any time off.

Yesterday’s Supreme Court opinion does not affect the FMLA rights of two classes of eligible employees:

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  • Employees of public agencies; and,
  • Employees who work for private sector employers who employ 50 or more employees for at least 20 work weeks in the current or preceding calendar year – including joint employers and successors of covered employers.

Also, the High Court reaffirmed that states (and the other employers listed above) may still face FMLA liability for violating the family-care provisions of the FMLA (first three bullets in the hyperlink). The Court also did not discuss the right to take leave under the Americans with Disabilities Act or various state leave laws.

This was originally published on Eric B. Meyer’s blog, The Employer Handbook.

You know that scientist in the action movie who has all the right answers if only the government would just pay attention? Eric B. Meyer, Esq. gets companies HR-compliant before the action sequence. Serving clients nationwide, Eric is a Partner at FisherBroyles, LLP, which is the largest full-service, cloud-based law firm in the world, with approximately 210 attorneys in 21 offices nationwide. Eric is also a volunteer EEOC mediator, a paid private mediator, and publisher of The Employer Handbook (www.TheEmployerHandbook.com), which is pretty much the best employment law blog ever. That, and he's been quoted in the British tabloids. #Bucketlist.

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