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Friday, April 13, 2012

Supreme Court Wants State Employees To Die

Okay, maybe my headline isn’t quite what they said, but the subtext is there. In a case decided on March 20, 2012, the men in black said that, for state employees, they can take FMLA leave to care for family members, but not for themselves. Huh?

The reasoning is that, because states are generally immune from suit unless they waive their immunity, Congress had no right to pass the Family and Medical Leave Act unless it was to address sex discrimination under the 14th Amendment. The men on the court found that, to the extent FMLA allows time off to care for yourself, it addresses “a concern for discrim­ination on the basis of illness, not sex.”

The women on the court, along with Justice Breyer, had something to say about the decision. “In so declaring, the plurality undervalues the language, pur­pose, and history of the FMLA, and the self-care provi­sion’s important role in the statutory scheme. As well, the plurality underplays the main theme of our decision in Hibbs: ‘The FMLA aims to protect the right to be free from gender-based discrimination in the workplace.’” They went into a detailed analysis of the stated purpose of FMLA, along with the legislative history. Throughout, they point out, Congress says FMLA addresses the issue of discrimination against women in the workplace. Specifically, it was to address the need for maternity leave without specifically pointing to pregnancy. “[T]he self-care provision, 29 U. S. C. §2612(a)(1)(D), prescribes comprehensive leave for women disabled during pregnancy or while recuperatingfrom childbirth—without singling out pregnancy or child­birth.”

The dissenting Justices give specific examples of women who appeared to testify before Congress to relay stories of how they were fired after taking maternity leave.

The solution the court offers? Maryland can pass its own law similar to FMLA and waive its sovereign immunity. I won’t hold my breath.

What did Maryland have to say for itself? “’[A] state’s refusal to provide pregnancy leave to its employees,’ Maryland responds, is ‘not unconstitutional.’” Whoa. Makes me glad I decided to move. Way to go, Maryland. Let’s fire the new moms!

For shame, Maryland. For shame, Supreme Court.

So much for the “family values” branch of the court. Now, let’s watch them gut health care altogether. Then we can all die unless we’re employed and our employer graces us with medical coverage.

Hm. I wonder who will do the scut work once all the poor people are dead. Maybe those robes can double as a dusting cloth.


  1. wow, you've gone over the top on this one Donna. boy, talk about a rant only a socialist would applaud.

    We're not a socialistic State yet and the State does not have a monopoly on business as far as i know yet. whenever it does then i'd concede your point.

    i can only hope that i'm not here when that day comes. i don't want to be here to watch my grandkids suffer the consequences.

    the only problem will be is that once that day comes a Supreme Court will no longer be of any value to the people.

  2. Griper, FMLA still applies to private businesses. In this case, they said it didn't apply to states, only for the self-care provisions. Whether or not FMLA is socialist (we disagree on that), it's the law. Now states can fire employees if they take off to care for themselves, but not if they care for immediate family. It makes no sense to me at all.

  3. laws are what makes a socialistic State, Donna. enforcible contracts are the way of a nation with free enterprise system. so unless you can show me how that law is a declaration of mutual consent between employer and employee i stand by my accusation.


I appreciate your comments and general questions but this isn't the place to ask confidential legal questions. If you need an employee-side employment lawyer, try http://exchange.nela.org/findalawyer to locate one in your state.