FMLA Service Requirement Need Not Be Continuous

December 27, 2006 ( - A federal appellate court has ruled that a worker does not have to be employed for 12 continuous months to be eligible for Family and Medical Leave Act benefits.

The 1 st  US Circuit Court of Appeals threw out a lower court ruling that car salesman Kenneth Rucker did not qualify for FMLA leave because his years of service with Auburn, Maine-based Lee Auto Malls was not continuous.

Citing the position of the US Department of Labor (DoL) as stated in a legal brief filed in the appellate case, the 1 st  Circuit judges ruled that the FMLA law was “ambiguous” about whether the 12-month service requirement had to be continuous.

The appellate court asserted: “We hold that … regulations promulgated by the United States Department of Labor (DOL), as interpreted by the DOL, establish that previous periods of employment do count.”

The 1 st  Circuit Judges sent the case back to US District JudgeGeorge Singal of the US District Court for the District of Mainefor additional hearings.

According to the appellate court, Rucker worked at Lee Auto Malls for five years, left, and returned five years later. Seven months after that, he took medical leave. He was fired two months later and filed the FMLA suit.


The case is Kenneth Rucker vs. Lee Holding Co., dba Lee Auto Malls The ruling is  here .