Top 21 Industries with FMLA Court Cases on the 21st Anniversary of the FMLA

Another year of FMLA court decisions is complete. What better way to commemorate the 21st anniversary of the February 1993 passage of the FMLA, than with a brief review of the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Midwinter Report reviewing all FMLA court decisions from 2013. The report summarizes decisions by FMLA-related content, so we thought it would be interesting to summarize the content according to industry.

Industries were determined utilizing the entity of the defendant in each court case. The top 21 industries are listed in the table below; 21 on the 21st anniversary. As can be seen, a variety of industries are represented. They are spread across the services, manufacturing, retail, finance, public administration and transportation groups. The top 21 industries accounted for nearly 80% of the 450+ court decisions in 2013.


Two of the top three, Health and Educational Services are Service-related industries. Health Services is comprised primarily of hospitals, medical centers, along with nursing and personal care facilities. It is not surprising that this industry, often associated with a larger volume of FMLA absences, is also associated with the largest number of FMLA court decisions.

Just over 50% of the Educational Services group was colleges, universities or other professional schools. Also included in this category were other types of institutions along with elementary/secondary schools.

The Executive, Legislative and General Government category was associated with 62 court decisions. 50% of decisions involved counties, 33% involved cities and the rest of the court decisions were associated with state or federal level entities. After these first three of the 21 industries, court decisions drop off to smaller but not negligible amounts.

Whether you consider your organization susceptible to court proceedings, as the ABA Midwinter Report indicates by sheer volume, some industries appear more susceptible to these types of events than others. Consider yourself lucky not to be listed, but prepare yourself as best you can to minimize the possibility of being in next year’s ABA Midwinter Report.

To find a copy of the Midwinter Report, click here.