• Supervisors May Be Individually Liable Under the Family and Medical Leave Act
  • March 2, 2012
  • Law Firm: Clifton Budd DeMaria LLP - New York Office
  • A United States Court of Appeals has recently held that supervisors may be held individually liable under the Family and Medical leave Act (“FMLA”). In Haybarger v. Lawrence, the Court held that the FMLA allows for individual liability on the part of a company manager who makes improper personnel decisions.

    This case, although involving a public sector employer, can easily be extended to the private sector. Indeed, New York State law, for many years, has held managers personally liability where they exercise supervisory authority over the complaining employee and are responsible in whole or in part for the alleged violation.

    This potential for personal liability does not absolve the employer, it only means that managers responsible for the adverse employment decision may also be subject to a judgment that can be satisfied out of the manager’s own assets.

    The case underscores the need for employers to be ever vigilant in connection with employment law decisions, particularly terminations. While this case applied to an FMLA case, the principle is easily applicable to other federal employment laws.