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Family and Medical Leave Act Archives

Employer socked with big fees despite small employee damages

In Cuff v. Trans State Holdings, Inc., a Family and Medical Leave Act ("FMLA") case, the Seventh Circuit recently awarded the employee, Cuff, $331,000 in attorneys' fees, costs and interest even though Cuff's damages were only $43,000. The Court's justification for such remedies was that, "the defense had not done its homework; it was content to leave the labor to Cuff's team and the judge ... for issue after issue."  The main issue in this case was that workers are covered by the FMLA when they are jointly employed by multiple firms that collectively have 50 or more workers, and that firms may be treated as a single employer when they operate a joint business. There were several indicators that Cuff worked for both operations.  Cuff was the "regional manager" of the three firms and his business card bore the logos of all three firms. Moreover, Cuff had been hired to provide services to both air carriers.

How FMLA guidelines impact Wisconsin employees

The Family and Medical Leave Act enables workers who are dealing with health issues to leave work as necessary. This act may also apply to workers who need to leave work to deal with health issues of family members. Both the federal government and the state of Wisconsin have their own versions of the FMLA. While many provisions are the same in both cases, the state version differs from the federal version in some respects.

What is the FMLA?

Wisconsin employees may want to know some specifics about the Family and Medical Leave Act and whether they are covered by it. This law helps employees to take leave when they have a situation that interferes with their ability to work.

Eligible employees entitled to leave under federal and state laws

According to the United States Department of Labor, employees in Wisconsin are offered certain amounts family and medical leave under both state and federal law. These guidelines provide protection for workers who meet the eligibility standards, which is based on the amount of time that the employee has spent working for the employer and the size of the employer, which is defined by the number of workers that it employs.

Wisconsin county has issues with FMLA administration

Records for Milwaukee County indicate that approximately 20 percent of its employees used the Family Medical Leave Act to take time off during 2013. The law enables employees to take unpaid leave for issues such as the birth or adoption of a child or caring for an ill family member without negative job consequences. While this ensures job protection for the individual who needs extended time off for such reasons, his or her employer may have trouble with filling the position during the absence.

Requirements increasing for employers with pregnant workers

Wisconsin employers and employees may want to note that 14 different jurisdictions in the United States now have requirements that specifically address accommodations that must be made in the workplace for pregnant workers. Some of the requirements are at the local level, and others cover all employers in the state. Some requirements are imposed on employers with as few as one employee, and others put requirements on employers with a larger number of workers.

Family and Medical Leave Act investigations becoming stricter

Sometimes a family member becomes unexpectedly ill and a person has to leave work to care for the individual. The situation typically is already stressful enough without having to worry about possibly losing one’s job as a result of the extended leave of absence. This is why the Family and Medical Leave Act is so critical for workers in Wisconsin and throughout the country: It protects them from losing their positions if they have to be gone from the office for several weeks. Going forward, employers are going to be held increasingly responsible for abiding by FMLA laws.

Employee claims company violated Family and Medical Leave Act

Imagine temporarily leaving a job for multiple weeks to tend to a sick family member and then returning to work, only to find out that one’s job no longer exists. This can be frustrating and scary for a worker in Wisconsin who depends on that job to live -- and it also may be illegal under the Family and Medical Leave Act. One woman recently said she experienced this type of treatment and has filed a lawsuit against her employer as a result.

Financially preparing for unpaid leave is wise in Wisconsin

When people think about planning for emergencies in Wisconsin, the types of emergencies that often come to mind include falling ill or getting into a car wreck. However, sometimes an emergency happens to a loved one instead of to oneself, and a person ends up having to leave work for a while to take care of that family member. It’s wise to financially plan for any unexpected periods of unpaid leave, which can stretch as long as 12 weeks under the Family and Medical Leave Act.

Family and Medical Leave Act helps pregnant women

When a person is expecting a baby, he or she naturally makes many preparations. The nursery has to be set up and decorated, the bottles must be purchased and the baby’s car seat must be installed. Still, one important preparation must be considered: to secure one’s employment situation during the period when one will be at home caring for and bonding with the new bundle of joy. The Family and Medical Leave Act, or FMLA, is designed to make sure that a woman’s job is protected in this case in Wisconsin.

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