Our friends at the law firm of Murtha Culina advise us of an important appellate level court decision rendered last week that should send shivers around the human resources department. The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals rendered a decision last week that under certain readings of the Family Medical Leave Act, a company’s human resources director (or other management personnel) can be held personally liable for violations of the act. The case of Graziadio v. Culinary Institute of America involved a payroll administrator who used the provisions of the FMLA to take leave from her work to care for one of her sons hospitalized for diabetes. Subsequent to her return, another son suffered a broken leg and required care, so she again employed the protections of the FMLA and took another leave. As issues arose, her situation was referred to the HR Director who handled all company communication with her, up to and including her termination notice. In the appellate court’s view, the HR Director effectively became her “employer” and was therefore responsible for adherence to the FMLA. Consequently, Graziadio’s case was reinstated, the decision of the District Court overturned and the case remanded for further proceedings.