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Returning temps and the FMLA: What are our obligations as the client company?

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in FMLA Guidelines,Human Resources

Q. A staffing agency has informed my company that a temporary worker who was previously assigned to us is returning from a leave under the FMLA. What are our obligations to this individual?

A. As a general rule, job restoration is the responsibility of the primary employer, in this case the temporary agency. The secondary employer—your company—is responsible for accepting the employee returning from FMLA leave in place of the replacement employee if you continued to use the temp agency’s services.

Additionally, with respect to temporary or leased employees, the client company must be careful to avoid certain actions prohibited by the FMLA. For instance, you may not interfere with an employee’s attempt to exercise FMLA rights, or discriminate against him or her for opposing a practice that is prohibited by the FMLA.

For example, assuming that the temp agency is still furnishing the same services to you, it would be unlawful for you to interfere with or attempt to restrain efforts by the agency to restore the returning employee to his or her previous position with your company.

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