Leaves of Absence/FMLA Articles

Managers Now Face Personal Liability under the FMLA and CFEPA

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            The Second Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers Connecticut, found that managers who hold significant authority over a company’s administration of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) can be held personally liable for violations of the law.  Graziadio v. Culinary Inst. Of America.

Connecticut Paid Sick Leave Law Amended

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            Effective October 1, 2014, several important changes to the Connecticut Paid Sick Leave law take effect. Public Act 14-128. To be covered by the law an employer must employ 50 or more employees in Connecticut. To determine compliance with the 50 employee threshold employers previously measured their workforce each quarter during the prior calendar year. If in any one quarter they had at least 50 employees they were required to comply with the law beginning the following January 1. Now, employers need only measure their workforce once, during the week in which October 1 falls. If during that week the workforce has at least 50 employees, the employer must comply with the law beginning the following January 1.

Caring for Disabled Adult Children under the FMLA

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            The U.S. Department of Labor recently provided guidance on when employees may take federal FMLA leave to care for an adult child who is incapable of self-care because of a disability. The FMLA entitles an eligible employee to take up to 12 workweeks of unpaid, job-protected leave during a 12-month period to care for a son or daughter with a serious health condition.  The FMLA defines a “son or daughter” as a “biological, adopted, or foster child, a stepchild, a legal ward, or a child of a person standing in loco parentis, who is (A) under 18 years of age; or (B) 18 years of age or older and incapable of self-care because of a mental or physical disability.”

FMLA Rights Triggered Once Employer Notified of Need for Leave

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            A recent Connecticut District Court decision highlights the need for employers to affirmatively determine if a request for leave is covered by the FMLA, even if the employee does not specifically request “FMLA leave.” McNamara v. Trinity College, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 6045 (D. Conn. Jan. 15, 2013). The employee worked for Trinity College and requested a leave to care for his wife who was undergoing hip replacement surgery. The employer never informed the employee of his FMLA rights, and did not treat his two week absence as FMLA protected leave. Instead, it issued him a written warning for poor attendance.

Careful Counting May Exempt Employers from CT and Federal FMLA

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       The Connecticut Supreme Court recently held that the Connecticut Family and Medical Leave Act (CTFMLA) only covers employers with at least 75 Connecticut based employees. Velez v. Commissioner of Labor, 306 Conn. 475 (2012). The decision clarifies that employers with a total workforce of 75 or more employees are not covered by the Act, if they employ fewer than 75 employees in Connecticut. 


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