In a recent decision, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit clarified that an employer can violate the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) by discouraging an employee from taking FMLA leave, even without actually denying an FMLA leave request.

In Ziccarelli v. Dart, Plaintiff Salvatore Ziccarelli argued that his employer, the Cook County Sherriff’s office, violated the FMLA by discouraging him from taking FMLA leave. Between 2007 and early 2016, Ziccarelli took varying amounts of FMLA leave every year. By September 2016, he had used 304 of 480 of his available FMLA leave hours for the year. He then enrolled in an 8-week treatment program for PTSD that year. In his lawsuit, he alleged that he called the Sherriff’s Office’s FMLA manager, Wylola Shinnawi, to discuss using a combination of his FMLA leave, sick leave, and annual leave to attend the program. He said that Shinnawi told him that he’d already taken a significant amount of FMLA leave, and that he should not take any more FMLA leave, otherwise he would be disciplined. Ziccarelli chose to retire, stating that he feared he would be fired if he took additional FMLA leave.
Continue Reading Seventh Circuit Issues Decision Addressing Employer Interference With FMLA Leave

On July 19, 2022, in the decision, Mothering Justice et al., v. Dana Nessel et al. (Nessel), the Michigan Court of Claims (Court)  held that in 2018 the Michigan Legislature unconstitutionally amended two voter-initiatives, the Earned Sick Time Act, PA 338, and the Improved Workforce Opportunity Wage Act (IWOWA), PA 337, by amending the proposals in the same legislative session that the Legislature enacted the two initiatives. The Legislature’s tactic of adopting and amending the voter initiatives subverted the constitutional protections against “legislative interference with the People’s constitutional right of initiative.” The Court’s holding nullified the amendments to the initiatives, 2018 Public Act (PA) 368 (IWOWA) and 2018 PA 369 (renamed as the Paid Medical Leave Act), and reinstated the original, more expansive terms of PA 338 and PA 337.
Continue Reading Michigan Court Reinstates Minimum Wage and Sick Leave Initiative Unconstitutionally Amended by State Legislature

In light of the wave of substantial changes to Colorado’s employment laws, a recent less significant change may have escaped the attention of your human resources team. Recently passed Senate Bill 22-234 reshapes how unemployment benefits are administered and funded in Colorado. One of the new law’s provisions requires employers to provide employees with additional information for unemployment benefits upon separation, including identifying the reason for separation.
Continue Reading Colorado Expands Employer’s Separation Notice Obligations