Tuesday, June 22, 2010
In another move to provide protections to LGBT employees, the Obama Labor Department has clarified the definition of “son or daughter” under Section 101(12) of the Family and Medical Leave Act to give family leave rights to people who assume the role of caring for a child regardless of the legal or biological relationship, according to an interpretation letter (No. 2010-3) issued by the Wage and Hour Division June 22.
In that letter, Wage and Hour Division Deputy Administrator Nancy J. Leppink wrote: “Either day-to-day care or financial support may establish an in loco parentis relationship where the employee intends to assume the responsibilities of a parent with regard to a child . . . . In all cases, whether an employee stands in loco parentis to a child will depend on the particular facts.”
Significantly, the letter states that, “[n]either the statute nor the regulations restrict the number of parents a child may have under the FMLA . . . .A simple statement asserting that the requisite family relationship exists is all that is needed."
And even more specifically with regard to same sex relationships, the interpretation letter states: "[A]n employee who will share equally in the raising of an adopted child with a same sex partner, but who does not have a legal relationship with the child, would be entitled to leave to bond with the child following placement, or to care for the child if the child had a serious health condition, because the employee stands in loco parentis to the child."
Needless to say, these employee protections have been long sought by the LGBT community and the letter is another example of the Obama administration following through on its LGBT agenda.