W2 Issues/Concerns


Check out our weekly blog posts and see the latest news and discussions happening in the HR world of business.

Court verdict demonstrates how HR reps can be personally liable for FMLA faux pas

HR pros are known for playing by the rules when it comes to employment laws, but what happens if they slip up? A recent appeals court decision suggests that not only can the company be held liable, but the HR rep themselves can also be held personally accountable.

 In the case, a payroll worker for the Culinary Institute of America took FMLA leave to care for her sons. However, the company questioned the validity of the workers claim, with HR director Shaynan Garrioch stating that the documentation the plaintiff originally provided wasn’t sufficient. The company then set a deadline for the plaintiff to submit the proper documentation but, when she failed to do so, she was terminated.

 The plaintiff then filed an FMLA interference and retaliation suit against the culinary institute, as well as Garrioch. The case was unable to be resolved in the lower courts, so an appeals court weighed in and determined that when it comes to the HR director’s individual liability, the FMLA’s definition of “employer” as one who “acts, directly or indirectly, in the interest of an employer to any of the employees of such employer” basically mirrors the definition under the FLSA. As a result, the court said the test used to evaluate employers under the FLSA should be applied to FMLA cases, too.

 With this rule established, the court next applied the FLSA’s control or “economic reality” test to the claim that the director of HR was an employer and determined that the HR director controlled Graziado’s FMLA rights from an employer capacity because she controlled Graziado’s schedule and conditions of employment, and she had the power to fire Graziado. As a result, she could be personally liable for FMLA violations.

 While the ruling is certainly alarming, HR Morning notes that it provides yet another reason to double check all FMLA decisions to ensure compliance, especially any decision that involves an employee termination – and if there is any doubt as to the legality of a particular action, HR pros should proceed with extreme caution. 


HR Managers: Discover how to effectively tackle business challenges with a PEO
Small Business: Discover how Abel HR can help your business.

Featured BLOGS

  • FMLA: Who, What, When, Where, Why and How?

    As we’ve mentioned before, HR professionals love to use acronyms. One that you might hear getting tossed around a lot is “FMLA.” But what is it? Who can use it and under what circumstances? And how on earth do you go about applying for it? What is FMLA? FMLA stands for the Family and Medical Leave Act. This federal law was passed in 1993 and is designed to allow eligible workers to “take unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons,” according to the Department of Labor (DOL). Specifically, the act covers an employee to take up to 12 weeks

  • Analyzing the Dreaded Task of Benefits Shopping

    Each year, you get the notice that it’s time to select your benefits offerings for the year. And each year, you probably put it off until the last possible moment for a variety of reasons: It’s overwhelming, it’s boring, it’s not a priority, and the good ol’ “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” However, if you don’t shop for benefits, you could be missing out! As a business owner, you might be forgoing some obvious cost savings, or even just a more cost-efficient benefits package. But looking beyond the obvious, you could also be skipping out on an opportunity


FSA | Commuter New Employee Abel Portal Time Clock