Thursday, November 6, 2008

Police Chief sued individually for FMLA violation

Daniel Rasic was a police officer with the City of Northiake, Illinois.  In 2007, Rasic requested and the City approved his Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) request for the birth of his child.  There were complications surrounding the birth and Rasic requested, and the City approved, additional FMLA leave.

During a telephone call with the Police Chief while Rasic was on leave, the Chief told Rasic that he could not ‘take the summer off,’ and that ‘everybody else had kids,’ so Rasic needed to make plans to return to work.  Ultimately, the City terminated Rasic prior to the completion of his approved FMLA leave.

Rasic then filed a lawsuit against the City, the Police Chief, and the members of the Police Commission.  The Chief filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit on the grounds that individual supervisors cannot be sued under the FMLA.  A federal trial court disagreed with the Chief and denied his motion.

The trial court ruled that, "a plain reading of the text of the FMLA leads to the conclusion that supervisory government employees … can be sued individually.”  The trial court noted that other courts, most notably the Sixth Circuit, have held to the contrary but stated that they “disagree with these decisions [because] the FMLA makes clear that the definition of employer includes both individuals who act in the interests of an employer, and public agencies."

This case is similar to others around the nation that, in recent years, have found supervisors to be individually liable for employment-related claims.  For more background on this case see the November 2008, Public Safety Labor News.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I know this Officer and he should get his job back because he did not do anything wrong but care for his family. I hope the Government agrees. Thanks for posting this information for all to see.