Magazine article HRMagazine

FMLA Claims against HR Director May Proceed to Trial

Magazine article HRMagazine

FMLA Claims against HR Director May Proceed to Trial

Article excerpt

A former Culinary Institute of America employee who was fired after taking leave to care for her two sons has triable Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) claims against the HR director who instigated her discharge, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.

The employee, Cathleen Graziadio, worked at the institute as a payroll administrator from 2007 until September 2012. In June and July of 2012, she took time off, which she sought to have classified as FMLA leave. The organization's HR director told Graziadio that her FMLA paperwork did not justify the absences and that she needed to provide updated information. The culinary school sent her additional forms but fired her a week later-before she could complete them.

Graziadio sued the school and the HR director individually for interference with FMLA leave and for FMLA retaliation. The lower court dismissed the claims, but the 2nd Circuit reversed, finding that Graziadio was entitled to a trial.

The circuit court's decision revolved around the FMLA's definition of an "employer," which includes "any person" who "acts, directly or indirectly, in the interest of an employer" toward an employee. …

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