FMLA Doesn’t Apply to Overseas Worksites

February 9th, 2012 by JBWK

In a ruling of first impression, a federal trial judge in Alexandria this week held that the Family and Medical Leave Act does not apply to a U.S. citizen employed by a U.S. company performing services at the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, Iraq.

The plaintiff, an employee of a State Department contractor, worked inside the U.S. embassy in Baghdad. She became sick and had to travel to Egypt for medical treatment. When she tried to return, her employer told her they did not have a position for her, and that she should return to the United States. She requested reemployment several times; the company failed to respond.

The employee sued in Alexandria, claiming her employer violated the FMLA by failing to return her to her position after recovering.

The court granted the employer’s motion to dismiss, ruling the FMLA does not apply to overseas work locations, regardless of the fact that the employer was a U.S. company and the employee was a U.S. citizen. It held the location of the worksite was the controlling factor, and that any worksite not in the United States or its possessions is beyond the reach of the FMLA.

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