Bench & Bar of Minnesota
Author: Mary Knoblauch
The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) turned five in August of 1998. While the evolution of the law has not been smooth, five years of FMLA litigation has helped shape and define this legislation.
The FMLA was enacted to help employees balance the demands of work and personal life by requiring employers with 50 or more employees to provide eligible employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave in any 12–month period because of: (1) the birth of a child; (2) the placement of a child with an employee through adoption or foster care; (3) the employee’s need to care for a spouse, child, or parent with a serious health condition; or (4) the employee’s serious health condition which makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of his or her job.
As often happens with major legislation in the employment area, the passage of the act has been followed by a torrent of litigation. While not every issue that can and does arise under the FMLA has been ironed out, the courts recently have provided answers, or at least direction, to some frequently litigated questions. The following is a very brief survey of some of this case law. Read more