What happens to an employee's job when he or she returns from FMLA leave?
The FMLA requires that the employer restore the employee to his or her original job status upon the employee's return from FMLA leave.
If your employer is not covered by the FMLA, are there any state laws that could help?
There may be, depending on the state. Remember that many employees will not be covered by the FMLA, because they work for employers who employ less than 50 fulltime workers.
What is the Lily Ledbetter Act?
The Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act is a federal law passed by Congress in 2009 as a legislative response to the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber (2007), which did not allow workers to sue for race or gender discrimination under Title VII for pay discrimination if the employee did not file suit within 180 days of the discriminatory act.
LegalSpeak: Fox v. General Motors Corp. (4th Cir. 2001)
In fact, the ADA mandates that "[n]o covered entity shall discriminate against a qualified individual with a disability because of the disability of such individual in regard to job application procedures, the hiring, advancement, or discharge of employees, employee compensation, job training, and other terms, conditions, and privileges of employment." 42 U.S.C. § 12112(a) (emphasis added). The Supreme Court has expressly held that very similar language creates a cause of action for hostile work environment under Title VII For these reasons, we have little difficulty in concluding that the ADA, like Title VII, creates a cause of action for hostile work environment harassment. Cf. Crawford v. Medina Gen. Hosp., 96 F.3d 830, 834 (6th Cir.1996) (concluding that a hostile work environment claim is actionable under the ADEA because of the use of the "terms, conditions, or privileges of employment" language and "the general similarity of purpose shared by Title VII and the ADEA"). This view appears to be sanctioned by the EEOC, whose regulations implementing the ADA state that "[i]t is unlawful to coerce, intimidate, threaten, harass or interfere with any individual in the exercise or enjoyment of . any right granted or protected by" the employment provisions of the ADA. 29 C.F.R. § 1630.12(b) (emphasis added). We further note that several of our sister circuits have assumed that the ADA includes a cause of action for hostile environment harassment modeled after the Title VII cause of action.
LegalSpeak: ADA Amendments Act of 2008
Bindings—Congress finds that—
(1) in enacting the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), Congress intended that the Act "provide a clear and comprehensive national mandate for the elimination of discrimination against individuals with disabilities" and provide broad coverage;
(2) in enacting the ADA, Congress recognized that physical and mental disabilities in no way diminish a person's right to fully participate in all aspects of society, but that people with physical or mental disabilities are frequently precluded from doing so because of prejudice, antiquated attitudes, or the failure to remove societal and institutional barriers;
(3) while Congress expected that the definition of disability under the ADA would be interpreted consistently with how courts had applied the definition of a handicapped individual under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, that expectation has not been fulfilled;
(4) the holdings of the Supreme Court in Sutton v. United Air Lines, Inc., 527 U.S. 471 (1999) and its companion cases have narrowed the broad scope of protection intended to be afforded by the ADA, thus eliminating protection for many individuals whom Congress intended to protect;
(5) the holding of the Supreme Court in Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky, Inc. v. Williams, 534 U.S. 184 (2002) further narrowed the broad scope of protection intended to be afforded by the ADA;
(6) as a result of these Supreme Court cases, lower courts have incorrectly found in individual cases that people with a range of substantially limiting impairments are not people with disabilities;
(7) in particular, the Supreme Court, in the case of Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky, Inc. v. Williams, 534 U.S. 184 (2002), interpreted the term "substantially limits" to require a greater degree of limitation than was intended by Congress; and
(8) Congress finds that the current Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ADA regulations defining the term "substantially limits" as "significantly restricted" are inconsistent with congressional intent, by expressing too high a standard.
LegalSpeak: Congressional Findings for the Lily Ledbetter Act— SEC. 2. FINDINGS.
Congress finds the following—
(1) The Supreme Court in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., 550 U.S. 618 (2007), significantly impairs statutory protections against discrimination in compensation that Congress established and that have been bedrock principles of American law for decades. The Ledbetter decision undermines those statutory protections by unduly restricting the time period in which victims of discrimination can challenge and recover for discriminatory compensation decisions or other practices, contrary to the intent of Congress.
(2) The limitation imposed by the Court on the filing of discriminatory compensation claims ignores the reality of wage discrimination and is at odds with the robust application of the civil rights laws that Congress intended.
(3) With regard to any charge of discrimination under any law, nothing in this Act is intended to preclude or limit an aggrieved person's right to introduce evidence of an unlawful employment practice that has occurred outside the time for filing a charge of discrimination.
(4) Nothing in this Act is intended to change current law treatment of when pension distributions are considered paid.
Lily Ledbetter was the plaintiff in the case, who sued for discrimination after she found out that she received less pay than male counterparts. However, the Court ruled that many of her claims were time-barred.