Olson v. United States
Olson v. United States (U.S. Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit, November 23, 2020): The 9th Circuit ruled that the standard for “willfulness” adopted by the Supreme Court for Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) claims also applies to Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) claims: whether the employer knows or shows reckless disregard for whether its conduct violates the statute. An employee argued that Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) willfully interfered with her FMLA rights. Applying FLSA’s willful test, the trial court found the alleged interference was not willful. The 9th Circuit agreed that the FLSA’s “willful” test applied. It affirmed the lower court’s conclusion that the interference was not “willful” because BPA consulted with its legal department about the individual’s FMLA leave, opted not to terminate her, offered a trial work option, and made some effort to restore her to an equivalent position. Read the full decision here.