The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) overstepped it’s authority recently with regard to extending Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave to same-sex spouses regardless of whether the employee resided in a state that legally recognizes the union. The new rule was due to go into effect March 27, 2015 when a Texas federal judge granted a temporary injunction to a group of several state Attorneys who brought suit on the grounds that the DOL exceeded its authority because it forced employers to choose between compliance of the FMLA rule and state laws that define the status of spouse differently.
For now the definition of same-sex marriage is up to the individual states following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the defense of Marriage Act. Currently, the FMLA regulations define ‘spouse’ according to the law in the state where the parties reside. If a same-sex couple resides in a state that does not recognize an employee’s same-sex marriage, they may be out of luck.
If you have questions regarding FMLA or other employment law matters, contact the Law Offices of Stoltze & Stoltze, PLC for help today!
Source: The National Law Review, “New FMLA Spouse Definition Blocked–For Now”, accessed April 21, 2015.