Enforcement statistics covering fiscal year (FY) 2016 published recently by the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) show that the number of complaints resolved by the agency under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) fell to another all-time low last year.  The 1,246 complaints resolved by WHD in FY 2016 represented a 12.2 percent drop from the previous year and continued a five-year downward trend.

However, the numbers provide only part of the picture, since WHD reports only the number of FMLA complaints resolved, and not the number of complaints the agency receives.  In addition, WHD does not report its inventory (backlog) of pending complaints.

Perhaps even more significant than the DOL data, the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts (AO) reported recently the number of FMLA lawsuits brought in federal court in FY 2016 actually increased by 10.2 percent over the previous year, and the 1,255 FMLA lawsuits recorded were the most filed since being broken out by AO as a separate reporting category in FY 2012.  Moreover, FMLA lawsuits jumped despite an overall drop in employment lawsuits generally.

Members of the Equal Employment Advisory Council (EEAC) can read more here.