U.S. Supreme Court Rules That States Are Exempt From Suit Under FMLA Self-Care Provision

On March 21, 2012, the United States Supreme Court ruled that States and State Agencies are exempt from suit in Federal Court for any claims brought pursuant to the self-care provision of the Family Medical Leave Act. Without going into an overly legal article about the United States Constitution and the 14th Amendment, we will explain what this means to the non-lawyer.

If you are a State employee or work for a State agency, then you will not be permitted to file a lawsuit for a violation of the FMLA’s self-care provision. The self-care provision allows an employee who has worked for one year, over 1,250 hours in that year, for an employer with more than 50 employees, to take a protected leave of 12 weeks in a year to care for your own serious health condition. Accordingly, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that this provision does not apply to State employees.

However, all of the protections afforded by the FMLA still apply to private employers with 50 or more employees. Also, State workers continue to be protected for maternity leaves protected by the FMLA. Finally, although the FMLA may not protect your leave for self-care, the state you live in may have a statute that affords you this protection.

If you have any questions regarding your rights under the FMLA, please call our NJ Employment Lawyers for a free consultation.