Employment law covers a wide range of situations. This variety of interests is why expert lawyers such a Tayeb Hyderally pursued the area as a career. Employment law NJ is a field that is undergoing constant changes as different types of cases are presented before the courts of the land and precedent setting judgments are handed down. In most instances, these types of cases have an effect on other cases for years to come.
One such case is Haybarger v. Lawrence County Adult Probation and Parole. The issue surrounded an employee’s rights regarding FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act). In this particular case the question was if a supervisor could personally be held liable for violations of FMLA.
Debra Haybarger worked at the Lawrence County Adult Probation and Parole agency as an office manager. Her immediate supervisor was William Mancino, who was the Department Director. Ms. Haybarger suffered from several serious illnesses such as kidney problems, heart disease and Type II diabetes. These medical conditions were the cause of her frequent absences from work. Although Mancino was well aware of her medical conditions he repetitively noted in performance evaluations that she should reduce her absences. He also questioned her constantly about her reasons for needing to see physicians frequently. Mancino carried out disciplinary action against Ms. Haybarger by placing her on 6 months’ probation stating that she lacked leadership abilities. He finally secured the proper authorizations and fired her when he felt like there was no improvement in her performance.
Ms. Haybarger filed suit against the Probation Department, Lawrence County and Mancino based on violations of the FMLA. The case was dismissed by the federal district court on the idea that Mancino was not her “employer.” However, Haybarger appealed the decision of the district court to the Third Circuit.
The Third Circuit noted that Mancino was considered Haybarger’s employer according to the guidelines set forth in the FMLA. Mancino was acting directly in the interest of the employer which put him in the position of “employer” and therefore could be found liable for violating FMLA guidelines. The Court based its findings on previous FLSA case laws which mean that any individual who exercises supervisor authority over another while acting in the interest of the company, or employer is subject to FMLA liability.
In this particular employment law case, the court found that Mancino was able to exercise sufficient control over the employment of Ms. Haybarger. He was her immediate supervisor, periodically completed performance reviews, had the authority to issue discipline and ultimately recommended that she be terminated. Therefore, as an individual supervisor he was held liable since he had direct authority over her position.
It is important for employers and supervisors to be well educated on FMLA guidelines and be familiar with their responsibilities regarding these regulations. Ty Hyderally is regularly a keynote speaker whose intent is to inform employees and employers of their rights and responsibilities regarding employment law in the workplace.