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Legal Memorandum: Statute of Limitations for FMLA Violation

Issue: What is the appropriate statute of limitations applicable to an employee’s claim for discrimination based on a violation of the federal Family and Medical Leave Act?

Area of Law: Employee Law, Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Statute of limitations; Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) violation; Employment discrimination claim
Jurisdiction: Federal
Cited Cases: 200 F. Supp. 2d 539
Cited Statutes: None
Date: 03/01/2004

The FMLA contains a two-year statute of limitations.  It sometime is argued that a cliam accrues when leave is denied, see, Moore v. Payless Shoe Source, Inc., 139 F.3d 1210 (8th Cir. 1998), vacated, 119 S. Ct. 2017 (1999).

Courts have consistently cause of action for wrongful termination in violation of the FMLA accrues on the date of termination.  See Williams v. Northwest Airlines, Inc., 53 Fed. Appx. 350, 352 (6th Cir. 2002), cert. denied, 123 S. Ct. 2224 (2003); Smith v. Bd. of Educ. of Carroll County, 200 F. Supp. 2d 539, 540 (D. Md. 2002).  In Moore, the court reasoned that if the violation the plaintiff asserted was a failure to designate worker’s compensation leave as FMLA leave, then the violation occurred and accrued in September 1993, which was more than two years before the plaintiff filed her complaint.  Moore, 139 F.3d at 1214.  In Moore, the plaintiff’s claim was that the employer violated the FMLA by failing to designate certain leave as FMLA leave. 

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