On October 1, 2013, the “Safe Act” becomes effective. The Safe Act provides 20 days of unpaid leave to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. The employer can require that this unpaid leave be covered under FMLA, New Jersey FMLA, vacation, or personal leave.
The purpose of the Safe Act is to provide New Jersey victims with time to deal with matters related to an incident of domestic abuse or sexual assault. The Safe Act covers:
- The employee,
- The employee’s child,
- The employee’s parent,
- The employee’s spouse,
- The employee’s domestic partner, or
- The employee’s civil union partner.
Within 12 months of the incident, the Safe Act’s purpose is to provide the victim of domestic abuse or sexual assault can:
- Seek medical attention for, or recover from, physical or psychological injuries;
- Obtain servies from victim services organization;
- Obtain psychological or other counseling;
- Participate in safety planning, temporarily or permanent relocate, or undertake other actions to increase safety;
- Seek legal assistance or remedies; or
- Attend, participate in, or prepare for court proceedings.
If the employer violates the Safe Act, the employee can ask for the following remedies: (1) Reinstatement; (2) compensation for lost wages and benefits; (3) an injunction; (4) attorney’s fees and costs; (5) civil find of $1,000 to $2,000 for a first time violation; and (6) a fine of $5,000 for any subsequent violations.
via Labor Employment Law Blog: New Jersey Provides Unpaid Leave to Victims of Domestic Violence.
The E.E.O.C. (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) issued a press release about an important decision coming from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.
In this decision, the court held that the company unlawfully discriminated against a female employee when they fired her. In this case, the female employee was lactating or expressing milk. The female employee asked her employer if she would be able to pump breast milk at work. The company then fired the employee.
The court relied on the Title VII of Civil Rights Act, which was amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1987. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act provided that a company could not discriminate against a female worker on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition.
The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed the argument that “pregnancy-related conditions” ended on the day the mother gave birth. In its decision, the court explained that lactation was a physiological condition distinct to women who have undergone a pregnancy. In other words, women, not men, lactate or express milk. Therefore, a company discriminates based on sex when it fires a woman for lactating.
via Fifth Circuit Holds Lactation Discrimination is Unlawful Sex Discrimination.
On January 14, 2013, The Department of Labor issued a new interpretation that clarifies its position on the ability of employees to take leave under the FMLA to care for an adult child who has a disabling medical condition. You can read the DOL’s guidance for adult children here.
The FMLA allows employees to take leave to care for a son or daughter with a serious health condition. However, the scope of allowable leave narrows once an employee’s son or daughter reaches 18 years old. At that point, a parent is entitled to take FMLA leave when all four of the following occur:
(1) the adult child has a disability as defined by the ADA;
(2) the child is incapable of self-care due to that disability;
(3) the child has a serious health condition; and
(4) the child is in need of care due to the serious health condition.
Prior to this interpretation, there was some question as to whether the adult child’s disability must have developed before the child reached 18 years of age for the parent to be eligible for FMLA leave. The Department of Labor has now clarified that the age of onset of the disability is immaterial so long as the child at issue has a disability under the ADA.
This interpretation reflects the impact of the ADAAA’s expansion of the definition of “disability” on the FMLA and will enable more parents to take FMLA-protected leave to care for their adult sons and daughters with disabilities.
via New Department of Labor Interpretation on FMLA Leave for Adult Children | Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC – JDSupra.
The U.S. Department of Labor released a new Employee Guide to the Family and Medical Leave Act on June 27, 2012. The new guide, available online and in print, includes easy-to-follow and informative charts that map out the FMLA leave process and a summary of how coverage and eligibility are determined.
View the Slideshow
Listen to the Archived Webinar
Download the FMLA Guide
via Adjunct Law Prof Blog: US DOL Releases New Family and Medical Leave Guide.
Connecticut also became the fourteenth state (plus DC for a total of fifteen state and state-like jurisdictions) to prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression. Public Act 11-55, An Act Concerning Discrimination
Connecticut also adopted a bill requiring sick leave to be paid. Public Act 11-52, An Act Mandating Employers Provide Paid Sick Leave to Employees
via AdjuntProf Blog