Issue: When must employees provide proof of their need for?
Benefit: You can require employees to provide proof when they request the leave.
Action: Don't be bullied by employees who want to provide after-the-fact proof. Require them to show their cards upfront.
TheAct ( ) requires employees to give notice of their reasons for leave. Your organization, then, has the right to deny leave when the provided information fails to reach the threshold for legitimate FMLA leave (childbirth, serious medical condition, etc.).
But, as the following case shows, em-ployees must explain their full reason for leave when they make the request, not later down the line. Employees can't hold you over a barrel by requesting leave on insufficient grounds and then, after the leave is denied, showing up with new proof.
Recent case: Steve Aubuchon's wife was pregnant and past her due date, so he told his employer that he'd be taking FMLA leave.
When he submitted his, he didn't indicate that his wife had a "serious health condition" or pregnancy-related complication prior to giving birth, as required by the FMLA for pre-birth leave. So the organization denied the leave and fired him for .
Soon after he was fired, Aubuchon submitted a doctor's note stating that his wife, in fact, did have pregnancy-related complications. The company refused to reverse the firing, so Aubuchon sued.
A federal appeals court tossed out his FMLA case. Reason: Aubuchon failed to put his employer on notice that his wife had complications covered by the FMLA. The court said he couldn't "fix" that after the fact because "employees should not be encouraged to mousetrap their employers." (Aubuchon v. Knauf Fiberglass, No. 03-1382, 7th Cir., 2004)
- How to Fire an Employee the Legal Way: 6 Termination Guidelines
- How to avoid 'at-will' legal limbo: Have attorney prepare employment contracts
- The employee is well enough to do the job--do we have to grant intermittent FMLA leave?
- Get input from several managers before firing problem worker
- Firing employees on FMLA leave: Occasionally legal, usually unwise