Supreme Court Voids Part Of Family And Medical Leave Act
The Supreme Court says workers denied unpaid sick leave required by federal law can’t sue the states.
The 5-4 decision is a setback for millions of employees of state agencies and state colleges, and it voided in part a provision in the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993. Among other things the act said that employees had a right to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to recover from an illness or childbirth.
The majority opinion could be a bad omen for the health care law.
It said lawsuits by state employees permitted under the law would violate the constitutional rule that the “states, as sovereigns, are immune from suits for damages.” Use of this rule, which was devised by the Rehnquist court in the mid-1990s, had receded in recent years. It reappears in the opinion by Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, just days before the court hears the 26-state challenge to Obama’s healthcare law.