US Supreme Court Clarifies Scope of FMLA Coverage for Employers

US Supreme Court Clarifies Scope of FMLA Coverage for Employers

Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court in Coleman v. Court of Appeals of Md. [an enhanced version of this opinion is available to lexis.com subscribers] held that state employees have no cause of action under the self-care provision (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 SCOTUS opinion does not affect the FMLA rights of two classes of eligible employees:

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

Also, the 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 article was originally published on Eric B. Meyer's blog, The Employer Handbook

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