Court Holds That Managers and Supervisors Can Be Individually Liable Under the FMLA

Gregory S. Schaer, a Monmouth County based New Jersey Employment Attorney located in Manalapan, represented the employee in a lawsuit against their employer alleging claims of handicap/perceived handicap discrimination, pregnancy discrimination and retaliation.

In Spagnoli v. Brown and Brown Metro, Inc. , 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 59698, the Company sought to dismiss the claims that a former employee had asserted against certain supervisors and managers claiming that they were not subject to individual liability. The court held that under the FMLA individuals who “exercise control” over the employee’s FMLA leave can be held liable for the employer’s FMLA violations.

The FMLA defines an “employer” as “any person who acts directly or indirectly in the interest of an employer to any of the employees of such employer”. Thus, the court held that the plain language of the FMLA demonstrates that individual supervisors and mangers can be held liable.

The court found that issues of fact existed surrounding the employee’s FMLA leave including the individuals involved in making the decision and the reasons offered for the employee’s termination. Moreover, the court found that both managers appeared to have been involved in the various e-mail transactions, letters and phone calls to and about the employee and her termination and the manager’s names appeared on numerous e-mails and other documents relating to the termination. For these reasons, the court denied the employer’s motion to dismiss the claims against the individual managers for liability under the FMLA.

To speak with an experienced New Jersey Employment Law Attorney, contact the Law Offices of Gregory S. Schaer, LLC, conveniently located in Monmouth County, New Jersey.