Vigilant Blog

News, trends and analysis in employment law, HR, safety & workers' comp

Oct 13, 2010

New employer not a successor under FMLA


The U.S Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Dollar Tree Stores wasnt a successor in interest under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) when it took over a lease from Factory 2-U, which had gone bankrupt. Although both companies were discount retailers, Dollar Tree Stores inventory was different, it remodeled the interior of the store, it hired only two of the former employees, and it employed a new store manager. Therefore an assistant store managers time with the old company didnt count toward her 12 months of employment for purposes of eligibility for leave under the FMLA. After only nine or ten months with Dollar Tree, the employee took time off to care for her mother, who had a serious health condition, but quit or was fired when she wasnt allowed to take as much leave as she requested. The Ninth Circuit determined that she wasnt entitled to FMLA leave (Sullivan v. Dollar Tree Stores, Inc., 9th Cir, Sept. 2010).

Tips: Questions of successorship arent the only tricky aspect of determining whether an employee has been employed for the required 12 months and worked the required 1250 hours to be eligible under the FMLA. For example, if a temporary worker is assigned to your facility and is later hired as a regular employee, all the time where the temp was working at your location counts toward the 12 months and 1250 hours, because you and the staffing agency were joint employers. For more information, see our Legal Guide, FMLA: Eligibility Requirements (3128).

This website presents general information in nontechnical language. This information is not legal advice. Before applying this information to a specific management decision, consult legal counsel.