Medical Leave Act Is Debated in Major Federalism Case
The Supreme Court is hearing arguments on whether Congress acted within its constitutional power when it applied the Family and Medical Leave Act to the states and allowed state employees to sue for damages for failing to give them the required leave. The case was brought by William Hibbs, a Nevada state agency employee, who was fired when he took leave to care for his wife. The Nevada Attorney General's office argues that Congress lacked a factual basis for applying the family-leave provision to the states because there was insufficient evidence that their leave policies were discriminatory. Supporters of the family leave provision argue that women are assumed to be the employees who take leave for family emergencies, and that assumptions in the workplace about the roles of men and women need to be challenged.