Lawyers believe two pockets are better than one. That’s why, whenever possible, they’ll try to sue both the employer plus the supervisor (or the HR director!) who made the alleged employment law mistake. That means the supervisor’s home and nest egg could be at risk.
Fortunately for managers, only certain federal laws allow for personal liability. Unfortunately, one of those laws is the—a confusing law that often leads to misinterpretation and mistakes.
Personal liability under the FMLA is a risk for all private-sector supervisors. But it’s not so clear in the public sector. At issue: the technical reading of the FMLA’s definition of “employer.”
While some courts have ruled that individual public-sector supervisors can be found personally liable for FMLA violations, others say that wasn’t Congress’ intent when it wrote the law. Look for the U.S. Supreme Court to sort it out someday.