Employees Going Straight to Court to Assert FMLA Rights

November 17, 2016

Employees are increasingly exercising their private right of action under the Family and Medical Leave Act instead of filing administrative complaints with the Labor Department.  According to data from the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts and DOL, 1,181 private FMLA complaints were filed in federal district courts in 2015, up from 404 in 2012, or 192 percent, while the number of FMLA complaints filed with DOL's Wage and Hour Division declined from 1,723 in 2012 to 1,419 in 2015, or -17.7 percent.  The shift may be attributed in part to employees becoming more knowledgeable about their rights under the FMLA, which doesn't require them to file with a federal agency before moving to litigation.