HR Strange But True!
April 12, 2007

We at HR Strange but True! have covered all sorts of relationships that have developed in the workplace, but this week we found what might be the rarest of them all: An employee adopting a co-worker.

In Florida, two co-workers recently became father and daughter after 61-year-old Bob Wilkey adopted 41-year-old Darlyn Beam.

The two custodians have been working together for 5 years at the Crest School in Citrus County, the Citrus County Chronicle reports. During that time, they say, they developed a bond. The connection was so strong that Wilkey offered to adopt his younger co-worker, and she accepted.

"We work night shift together, and we've been great partners," Beam tells WFLA. "Any time he needed my help, I was right there. Any time I needed him, he was right there."

Wilkey is a widower and never had children before the adoption, and Beam says she has never been close with her biological father, the Chronicle reports.

Would Wilkey be entitled to bonding leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act? The FMLA does give an employee a total of 12 workweeks of leave for the placement of a son or daughter with the employee for adoption. However, the law defines the term "son or daughter" as a biological, adopted, or foster child, a stepchild, a legal ward, or a child of a person standing in loco parentis, who is (a) under 18 years of age; or (b) 18 years of age or older and incapable of self-care because of a mental or physical disability.

In any case, the co-workers have plenty of time to bond while working.

Sources: Citrus County Chronicle and WFLA

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