High Court Restricts State FMLA
The Connecticut Supreme Court has ruled unanimously that the state’s Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) applies only to employers who have 75 or more employees in Connecticut. The ruling upholds the position taken by the state Department of Labor that employees in other states do not count toward the minimum requirement of 75.
In the case, a worker filed an FMLA complaint against her former employer after her 12 week medical leave expired and the employer refused her request for a light duty assignment, but instead fired her. The Labor Department rejected her claim, saying that although the employer had 1,000 employees nationwide, it did not have 75 or more of those employees employed in Connecticut.
The worker appealed to the Superior Court, where she got a ruling in her favor; the Labor Department then appealed, and the high court decided to hear the case itself.
Coming down on the side of the Labor Department, the high court concluded that counting out-of-state employees was not what the legislature intended. It would create a logistical nightmare for employers, said the court, as well as impose a burden on the agency, which presumably would be required to conduct investigations into the employment records of employers far outside its jurisdiction.
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