• LinkedIn
  • YouTube
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google+

Beware personal liability for COBRA, FMLA, state bias law

by on
in Discrimination and Harassment,FMLA Guidelines,HR Management,Human Resources

As if life in HR weren’t hard enough, a federal court has clarified when you may be held individually liable for mistakes in administering anti-discrimination and benefit laws.

The news isn’t good.

Essentially, the court said, anyone making decisions on behalf of an employer must ensure that those decisions comply with the law. If you make a mistake, your personal assets may be at risk under certain laws.

Recent case: Bonnie Smith, age 56, sued her former employer and all the managers who had a hand in deciding to demote and then fire her. She claimed a trio of wrongs: age discrimination, failure to reinstate her after FMLA leave and failure to notify her of her COBRA rights.

The federal trial court dismissed her age-discrimination claims against the managers because individuals can’t be held personally liable under the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act.

But the court let the case go forward against the managers under the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (PHRA), the FMLA and COBRA. The court said that under the PHRA it’s illegal for “any person … to aid, abet, compel or coerce the doing of any [discriminatory] act.” And the FMLA makes individuals “acting in the interest of an employer” individually liable.

Finally, if an employer doesn’t name a plan administrator to handle the day-to-day details of its health plan, COBRA holds the sponsoring employer responsible for complying with the notice requirements for continued coverage. That means someone in HR must make sure the notices go out on time. (Smith v. Genesis Ventures, No. 06-1473, ED PA, 2006)  

Like what you've read? ...Republish it and share great business tips!

Attention: Readers, Publishers, Editors, Bloggers, Media, Webmasters and more...

We believe great content should be read and passed around. After all, knowledge IS power. And good business can become great with the right information at their fingertips. If you'd like to share any of the insightful articles on BusinessManagementDaily.com, you may republish or syndicate it without charge.

The only thing we ask is that you keep the article exactly as it was written and formatted. You also need to include an attribution statement and link to the article.

" This information is proudly provided by Business Management Daily.com: http://www.businessmanagementdaily.com/2565/beware-personal-liability-for-cobra-fmla-state-bias-law "

Leave a Comment