Coleman v. Maryland Court of Appeals Decided

March 22, 2012

Whether states can be sued under the "self-care" provision of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) for failing to provide employees with twelve weeks unpaid leave to deal with their own medical needs.

In 2003, the Supreme Court held that the Eleventh Amendment did not bar suits against state employers for violating the "family leave" provision of the FMLA. The question in this case is whether the same rule applies to FMLA suits against the states based on the statute's "self-care" provision. In an amicus brief submitted with a broad coalition of other civil rights groups, the ACLU argues that the answer to that question should be yes because both provisions address a related problem arising from a documented history of employment discrimination against women based on stereotyped assumptions about their roles as mothers and caregivers.

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