Could Shock G a/k/a Humpty Hump have used FMLA leave to get a nose job?

All right! Stop whatcha doin’. ‘Cause I’m about to — school you on the Family and Medical Leave Act.
Yes, it’s another hip hop employment law lesson, this time honoring the late great Gregory Edward Jacobs a/k/a Shock G a/k/a Humpty Hump.

Shock G’s alter ego Humpty Hump was the nose, err the face of Digital Underground. While not a one-hit-wonder like Skee-Lo, Digital Underground’s biggest hit by far was the 1990 release: The Humpty Dance, which reached #11 on the Billboard Hot 100, #7 on the R&B charts, and #1 on the Billboard Rap Singles chart.

In The Humpty Dance, Mr. Hump laments, “People say ‘Yo, Humpty, you’re really funny lookin’…Ya stare, ya glare, ya constantly try to compare me.”

Why? It’s his nose, of course.

“My nose is big, uh-uh I’m not ashamed, Big like a pickle, I’m still gettin’ paid…Both how I’m livin’ and my nose is large.”

(By the way, Grammarly nearly just caused a small fire in the Bloggerdome. But I digress…)

But what would’ve happened if Mr. Hump had a change of heart and decided to have surgery on his nose?

(By the way, yes, I know that Humpty Hump’s big nose is fake. Please work with me.)

Let’s assume that Mr. Hump is an eligible employee under the FMLA. The next question is whether his surgery involves a “serious health condition.” A serious health condition means an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves inpatient care or continuing treatment by a health care provider.

But, here’s the thing. Conditions for which cosmetic treatments are administered (such as most plastic surgery) are not “serious health conditions.”

Does that mean that Mr. Hump couldn’t get FMLA leave? Not necessarily. Even for plastic surgery, FMLA is in play if it requires inpatient hospital care or complications develop.

Alternatively, if the surgery is not purely cosmetic, suppose Mr. Hump had a deviated septum. Now, we’re no longer talking about cosmetic surgery. The FMLA is in play as long as the physical condition involves inpatient care or continuing treatment by a health care provider.

Plus, even if Mr. Hump is not eligible for FMLA, the Americans with Disabilities Act may apply. Remember from yesterday’s post that individuals have a “disability” under the ADA if they have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. Under the supporting ADA regulations, physical impairment includes a “cosmetic disfigurement.” As this article from the Job Accommodation Network notes, an employer may need to provide unpaid leave as a reasonable accommodation absent undue hardship. Although, in Mr. Hump’s case, it probably would have been a long shot if the surgery was purely cosmetic. He had a better chance if his physical impairment impeded his breathing.

Well, I hope that you learned a thing or two. RIP Shock G.

Oh, yeah, that’s the break, y’all.

“Doing What’s Right – Not Just What’s Legal”
Contact Information