November 2016 Compliance Memos

Tasha Patterson@Work

compliance-memos_november-20162nd Circuit Tests Manager Liability for FMLA Violations

In Graziadio v. Culinary Institute of America, et al, an employer did not give the employee an opportunity to remedy a deficient FMLA leave application. Due to this failure, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the summary judgment for the employer. The circuit court also allowed that the human resource (HR) manager who terminated Graziadio may be personally liable for FMLA violations. The HR manager performed all determinations and activities in the case; that and other factors may meet legal standards to qualify the HR manager as an “employer” that can be penalized for FMLA violations. A jury trial will settle these questions. This case may have a significant impact on HR and the FMLA.

Final Rule: DOL’s Paid Sick Leave for Federal Contractors

An estimated 1.15 million employees may receive up to 56 hours of paid sick leave annually under Executive Order (EO) 13706, which applies to new federal contracts and replacements for expiring contracts resulting from solicitations issued on or after January 1, 2017. This approach allows a gradual ramp-up in coverage. Under the Final Rule issued by the U.S. Department of Labor, employees accrue 1 hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked on or in connection with a covered contract. Employees may request paid leave orally or in writing for personal medical needs or caring for a family member, or to respond to domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. Leave increments can be as small as one hour. Certification by a medical provider is required for medically-driven leaves. Certification of need related to violence can be provided by a broader list of providers, including self-certification. Some federal contracts are excluded from the EO. For more details, visit

More State & Local Expansions of Leave Laws

State and local government units are constantly expanding on leave laws. Illinois recently passed three such laws. Two take effect on January 1, 2017: the Illinois Employee Sick Leave Act and the Victims’ Economic Security and Safety Act. The sick leave law allows employees to use up to half of their available personal sick leave benefit to care for family members with an illness, injury, or medical appointment, on the same terms the employer applies to personal sick leave. The victims law allows unpaid leave based on employer size: up to four weeks in 12 months per employee for employers with up to 14 employees, up to eight weeks for 15 to 49 employees, and up to 12 weeks for 50 employees and more. The Child Bereavement Leave Act took effect in July, allowing up to two weeks of unpaid leave to any employee who is eligible for FMLA. Leave must be completed within 60 days of when the employee received notice of the death.