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Common FMLA Mistakes: In Loco Parentis Relationships: What Am I Doing Wrong??


There are many question from clients regarding FMLA administration.

When an employee requests FMLA leave to care for a family member, who is not obviously a child or parent, an initial reaction by the employer might be to deny that request. Under the FMLA, the definitions of “parent” and “son or daughter” include any other individual who stands in loco parentis (“in the place of a parent”) to the employee or child. A legal or biological relationship is not required. Failing to recognize the in loco parentis relationship could result in an FMLA interference claim.



Sheri L. Giger, Esq.

Sheri L. Giger, Esq.

Jackson Lewis P.C.

  • Shareholder in the law firm of Jackson Lewis P.C., one of the country’s preeminent workplace law firms; in fact, U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” has named the firm its 2017 Law Firm of the Year in the Employment Law – Management category
  • Practices in the area of employment, with a focus on preventative human resource policy and process development, handbook review and preparation, onboarding and employment applications, training, and counseling and advice
  • Member of the Jackson Lewis Disability, Leave and Health Management Practice Group, and the Jackson Lewis Management Training Practice Group
  • Regularly counsels employers of all sizes on issues including, but not limited to, ADA, FMLA, background checks, FCRA, reductions-in-force, WARN Act, and wage and hour
  • Prior to entering the field of law, she worked for seven years in human resources for a Fortune 500 company
  • J.D. degree, cum laude, University of Pittsburgh School of Law; M.S. degree in human resources management, Nova Southeastern University; B.A. degree, honors scholar in communications and theater, Carlow University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Can be contacted at 412-232-0404 or [email protected]
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Sheri L. Giger

Jackson Lewis LLP

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