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FMLA controversy

Colorado businesses may be interested in a current dispute involving the federal Family and Medical Leave Act, which entitles eligible employees of covered employers to take unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons. A Pennsylvania company is now involved in business litigation from an employee who had asked for time off to care for her fiance, who had cancer. The company granted the request, but the employee didn't use all of the 12 weeks allowed and requested to take the remaining allotted time off in the following calendar year.

The employee claims in the lawsuit that she was fired when she asked for the rest of the 12-week leave, saying that the company violated the FMLA by denying this second request. However, the company asked the court to dismiss the case because as it didn't employ 50 or more employees within 75 miles and thus was exempt from the Act's provisions. Employers may allow employees to take leave like that required under the FMLA even if, as in this case, the size of the company exempts them, as long as it is handled in a nondiscriminatory manner.

The judge in the case denied the request for dismissal of charges because of factual issues that still needed to be decided at trial. If no settlement is reached beforehand, the case will proveed

Legal concerns with growing a business may sometimes involve litigation over employment-related issues. As in this case, the court might make a determination about whether the plaintiff has any standing to sue, whether the case should be decided by trial or whether a case should be dismissed because of legal or factual issues.

Source: Business Management, "Company that provided, then pulled FMLA faces trial", December 06, 2013

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