HR Managers Can Be Held Personally Liable for FMLA Violations

Learn What You Can Do to Protect Yourself at the 2016 HR Conference

Last Thursday, the highest federal court for New York held that individuals who control an employee’s rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) can be held personally liable for any violation of those rights.  See Graziadio v. Culinary Institute of America, 2016 WL 1055742 (2d Cir., March 17, 2016). In other words, HR managers and others who administer the FMLA for their employer can now be sued personally if an employee believes that he/she has been denied FMLA-protected leave — or otherwise discriminated against for taking such leave.  Click here to download the alert prepared by PIA Association Counsel, Ferrara Fiorenza PC.

The Court found that the HR manager in this case “controlled” employee Cathleen Graziano’s rights under the FMLA because she: 1) reviewed Graziano’s FMLA paperwork; 2) determined its adequacy; 3) controlled Graziano’s ability to return to work and under what conditions; 4) controlled communications with Graziano regarding her leave; and 5) ultimately, had significant input into the decision to terminate her employment. 

Given that most HR managers have the same kind of authority, this decision means that they will be potential plaintiffs in future FMLA lawsuits. The impact of this decision cannot be overstated.  Simply stated, HR managers, who are already under a great deal of pressure to simply understand and comply with the extremely complex FMLA, will now have the added pressure of personal liability hanging over their heads.  Beyond the obvious direct impact on current HR managers, this decision may actually discourage others from joining the profession or even accepting FMLA responsibilities in the future.

In light of this, the 2016 PIA Human Resources/Employment Law Conference will be providing company owners, top managers, human resources staff and others with information and practical tips they will need to protect themselves.  In addition to addressing this new FMLA case and its ramifications, attendees will have the opportunity to hear from — and ask questions of — an actual Dept. of Labor Investigator who enforces the FMLA. 

The Conference will be held on April 21 and 22, 2016 at Turning Stone Resort & Casino in Verona, New York. This event has been approved for 10 (HR (General)) recertification credit hours for HR professionals through the HR Certification Institute.  Click here to download the conference flyer.

Please join us on April 21 and 22, 2016 at the Turning Stone Resort & Casino and learn what you can do to protect yourself.

Tim Freeman, President
Print & Graphic Communications Association
(800) 777-4742







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