Equal Employment Opportunity and Employee Rights Review
“Acts of Equal Employment Opportunity and Employee Rights” laws make it illegal for employers to discriminate against an employee or potential employee in certain workplaces. The Family Medical Leave Act of 1993 was created to grant family temporary medical leave. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 was created to prevent employees from being discriminated against because of age. The Drug- Free Workplace Act of 1988 requires some federal contractors and federal grantees to agree that they provide drug-free workplaces as a precondition of receiving a contract or grant from a federal agency. The requirements for organizations are more extensive because organizations have to take comprehensive, programmatic steps to achieve a workplace free of drugs.
In the case, Coleman v. State of Maryland Court of Appeals, Coleman, an employee for the Maryland Court of Appeals, requested time-off for the purpose of tending to serious personal health issues. The request was denied and Coleman was informed he must resign from his position or risk termination. Coleman sued his employer, claiming that by denying him self-care leave the state court was in violation of the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993. His employer, the state, argued that the case should be dismissed based on the state’s ‘sovereign immunity’. Sovereign immunity is a legal provision that says a government agency cannot be sued unless they agree to be sued. After dismissal by the Federal District Court and the Fourth Circuit Court, the case was heard by the United States Supreme Court.
On March 20, 2012 the Supreme Court ruled that a provision of the Family and Medical Leave Act giving workers time off to care for health related issues such as serious illness, pregnancy, or childbirth, is not enforceable in cases involving state employees (Migdal, 2012). The Court justified the ruling by stating that the lawsuits by state employees permitted under the FMLA would violate the constitutional rule that the "states, as sovereigns, are immune from suits for damages." Basically, the Supreme Court ruled that state workers cannot sue the states under the Family and Medical Leave Act, essentially stripping public employees of the job protection otherwise provided by the act. The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 protects employees of organizations with more than 50 employees in the case of childbirth, adoption, their own medical care or the care of a family member. The law has several stipulations such requiring 1250 working hours in the prior 12 months, therefore, accurate recordkeeping and a process in place to determine FMLA eligibility and compliance is crucial. An example of a company HR policy regarding the Family and Medical leave Act of 1993 may read:
“Employees employed for 12 months or more and who have worked at least 1250 hours in the previous 12 months, may take an unpaid Family and Illness Leave for up to 12-weeks per year. Employees are required to use all available paid time accrued for the leave period prior to unpaid leave.”
“The amount of Family and Illness leave will be based on the amount taken in the 12 months preceding the request for leave, and in cases of serious health condition, require adequate medical certification.”
“Family and Illness Leave may be taken intermittently, or for less than a full day. If the employee remains out on leave for more than 2 weeks, additional medical documentation may be required as allowed by law.”
“An employee returning to work from Family and Illness Leave shall return to the position held at the beginning of the leave, or to an equivalent position with equivalent pay and benefits.”
“Employees on a Family and Illness Leave will continue to have the Employer’s portion of the cost for health insurance paid by the Employer during the leave period. It is the...
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