As discussed in our
prior article, the U.S.
Department of Labor (DOL) promulgated a final rule on February 25, 2015 that, effective March 27, modified the federal Family and Medical Leave Act’s
(FMLA) definition of “spouse” to extend the FMLA’s protections to same-sex spouses whose marriages were valid in the state in which they were celebrated.
Shortly thereafter, Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana and Nebraska (the “Petitioner States”) filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of
Texas, alleging that the final rule was invalid and contradictory to state law. As we
reported previously, the district court found that the
Petitioner States were likely to succeed on the merits and enjoined enforcement of the DOL’s final rule pending a final decision on the merits.
also reported, on June 26, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges, extending equal protection rights of
marriage to same-sex couples nationwide.
In light of that
decision, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas the same day found that the Petitioner States no longer demonstrated a likelihood of
success on the merits, and thus dissolved the preliminary injunction that it previously entered. See State of Texas v. United States of America, No.
15 Civ. 56, ECF No. 45 (N.D. Tex. Jun. 26, 2015). As a result, the DOL’s new definition of “spouse” is now effective in Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana and
Nebraska (and all other states as well).
For further guidance on issues relating to the FMLA’s definition of “spouse”
or FMLA compliance generally, please contact the authors or any other member
of the firm’s labor and employment group.