The moment when you learn your wife has cancer gets imprinted on your brain in a hurry.

At least for me, it did.

That happened back in February of this year.  I haven’t talked about it on the blog yet for several reasons including that my wife is much more private online than I am.

You won’t find it (at least easily) on the Connecticut Department of Labor’s website.  (The Department’s FMLA page is void of any reference as well.)  

But late last month the CTDOL quietly released new regulations governing FMLA leave rights to school paraprofessionals. 

I’ve asked my colleagues, Jessica Ritter and Henry Zaccardi, to recap the

Today my colleague Chris Engler returns with a post that tackles a recent case that explores what should happen when an employee has exhausted her FMLA leave.  Case closed? Well, not exactly, as Chris explains.  

Most readers have heard the admonition that “No good deed goes unpunished.”  (Readers might be less aware that the phrase was coined by Connecticut’s own former U.S. Representative, Clare Boothe Luce.)

A recent federal decision in Wanamaker v. Town of Westport Board of Education reminds us that this warning is more than just a clever saying.

The plaintiff, an elementary school computer teacher, became pregnant with an expected due date in late April 2009.  Many months into the pregnancy, her  doctor ordered her to bed rest due to complications with her pregnancy.  The school district granted her FMLA leave.

So far, so good.

However, this story took an unfortunate turn after the teacher gave birth in April 2009. Suffice it to say that both the employee and her newborn daughter began to suffer from a number of severe complications and ailments.

As a result of these medical issues, the teacher couldn’t immediately return to work.  In fact, she wasn’t cleared to return to work at all until the following spring, and she ended up missing the rest of that school year.

Here’s where it gets contentious.  

It’s now the summer of 2010.  Ms. Wanamaker has not worked in roughly 16 months.  The school district offered her a job as a regular classroom teacher at her current salary for the 2010-11 school year.  She wanted to be a computer teacher again instead.  Ms. Wanamaker argued that she wasn’t medically able to work as a classroom teacher because it was more physically demanding.

After the school district eventually terminated her for, among other things, job abandonment, Ms. Wanamaker filed suit under the FMLA, the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), and state anti-discrimination laws.

(If the case sounds familiar so far, you’re not having déjà vu.  A number of bloggers (for example, here, here, and here) covered an earlier court ruling in this case that prevented the district from getting a quick win on the FMLA claims.  The issue there was whether the two teaching jobs were equivalent, and all the court said was that they might be.  As it turned out, in the more recent decision, the court neatly sidestepped the issue of whether the two teaching gigs were equivalent under the FMLA.)

Now for the bad news for employers.  This is where the “good deed” quote fits in.

Continue Reading No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: The Fallout From Allowing Excessive Absences

Today, my colleague Christopher Engler, takes a crack at explaining what happens with FMLA leave when an employee takes works at another job while on FMLA leave.  As Chris explains, not everything about the statute is “common sense.” 

Picture this:

In one scenario, a maintenance worker takes an FMLA leave for “mental distress” but

The Gender Wage Gap Task Force in Connecticut issued its report last month with both findings and recommendations on a continued disparities between what men and women, on average, earn. In doing so, it recognized that there are multiple factors that are responsible for the gap in its view.  It paints a far more complicated

Back in June, after the Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage, I made a fairly easy prediction:

The federal FMLA is also anticipated to undergo some pretty big changes in states that approve same-sex marriages. Already in 2010, the FMLA regulations suggested that married same-sex couples could take time off to care for a newborn

Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a key provision of the Defense of Marriage Act.  The SCOTUSBlog has done an admirable job with the recaps and if you want more information about that decision, you should really go there first.

Mother Nature broke out the rainbows last night.


For lawyers, anytime there’s a change, it seems to be a big deal. But for employers, change is inevitable and part of business.  Indeed, if a new poster is required by employers, most employers simply shrug and order a new poster on the internet through a site like

My colleague, Jon Orleans (fresh