The Seventh Circuit recently decided an appeal in Cuff v. Trans States Holdings, Inc., et al. and affirmed a lower court’s decision to award an employee-plaintiff a large settlement in a Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) case. The Court found that the employee worked jointly for two companies that were owned by one supplier, and it held that the employer was in fact mandated to follow federal law regarding FMLA and should not have terminated the employee for taking leave.
The Facts of the Case
An employee was terminated from his job after he took a leave under FMLA after the request was denied by his employer. The employer contended that it was not considered an employer subject to the regulations because they did not have the requisite number of employees. The company said that it only had 33 employees. The plaintiff argued that he worked for both companies jointly, and the other company had 343 employees, therefore qualifying the employer under FMLA.
The Court found that under the regulations by the Department of Labor, an employee will be eligible for FMLA if he or she is employed by more than one agency that has 50 or more workers total, and in this instance the employer was qualified as such under the law.
A lower court awarded the plaintiff $28,000 in compensatory damages, $14,400 in front pay, and approximately $331,000 in attorneys’ costs and interest. The Seventh Circuit affirmed this ruling.
Who is Eligible for FMLA in Kentucky?
Kentucky law mirrors the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The federal rules allow certain qualifying employees to retain their right of employment even if they take an unpaid leave because of certain predetermined reasons.
In Kentucky an individual can take FMLA leave if:
- The individual works in a location where there are at least 50 employees, and these employees work inside a 75-mile radius;
- The individual has been employed for at least one year; and
- The individual worked a minimum of at least 1,250 hours during the last year.
The main issue in the above case was whether the employer was subject to the FMLA. In order to properly bring a FMLA case, it is important to be able to establish each and every step of the analysis. An employer may, as in the above instance, try to get out of being liable by trying to claim that it is not subject to the federal rules. It is crucial to have an attorney assist you in developing your case and proving each facet necessary to bring a successful suit.
After establishing the first set of requirements, a plaintiff must then prove that he or she was entitled to take leave.
There are various reasons an individual can take leave, such as:
- Recovering from a serious medical issue;
- Taking care of a family member who is recovering from a serious health condition; or
- Bonding with a new adopted or biological child.
Only some health conditions qualify, and there is a set of rules that govern how severe and debilitating the condition must be.
Having an Attorney Assist You in Your Case.
Navigating the nuances of the FMLA can be complicated. It is important to meet each and every requirement to get to the point where a judge or jury may hear your argument. To help your chance of success, please contact one of our attorneys at 502-583-2300 to set up a free initial consultation. You may be entitled to monetary compensation, reinstatement, back pay, and other costs associated with your case. Please contact one of our dedicated and trained attorneys today for your employment law case.
Seventh Circuit Overturns Lower Court Ruling on Indiana Title VII Prison Case, Kentucky Employment Lawyer Blog, August 8, 2014.
NLRB Finds That McDonalds Is a Joint Employer and Can Be Named in Worker Complaints, Kentucky Employment Lawyer Blog, August 1, 2014.