Nevada Department of Human Resources v. Hibbs

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In Brief

State employees may recover money damages in federal court in the event of the state’s failure to comply with the FMLA.


What Happened in Court

William Hibbs was an employee for the Nevada Department of Human Resources when he sought leave under the FMLA to care for his wife. After he failed to report to work at the conclusion of his FMLA leave, Hibb’s employer terminated his employment. The Supreme Court granted certiorari to decide the very narrow question of whether state agencies could be sued for money damages under the FMLA. Ultimately, the court concluded that Congress had abrogated the state’s immunity from suit under the FMLA and decided that state employees could sue their employers for violations under the act.