Monday, November 20, 2006

"Missed it by THAT Much": Court Strictly Enforces FMLA 75 Mile Limitation

The FMLA protects employees whose employer has 50 or more employees within 75 miles of the employee's worksite. In a recent case, the Tenth Circuit confirmed the DOL's interpretation that the 75 mile limit is based on "surface miles," not linear ("as the crow flies") miles. So a winding road could be the difference between eligibility and ineligibility for FMLA benefits. Apparently, that is precisely why the employee in Hackworth v. Progressive Casualty Insurance Company lost her case. The employee's worksite and one other close-by worksite had a combined 47 employees. Another worksite with 3 employees was 67 linear miles away but 75.6 miles distant if measured by surface miles. The Tenth Circuit deferred to the DOL's interpretation that the proper measuring standard was surface miles, not linear miles.

The case can be found here.