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Require strict compliance with FMLA certification rules

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in FMLA Guidelines,Human Resources

Want to stop FMLA abuse? Then get strict about enforcing your certification requirements. There’s no reason employees should be allowed to simply say they need FMLA leave. Instead, make them turn in certifications within tight deadlines.

Recent case: Lydia Magallanes worked for Illinois Bell and had a history of attendance problems. She wasn’t the only one, so the company issued new rules that instituted a no-fault attendance program. It also began requiring employees who wanted FMLA leave to get their certifications back within 20 days, with an additional 15 days leeway if they could show a valid reason for the delay.

Magallanes missed the deadlines and was terminated. She sued, alleging she was eligible for leave.

But the court tossed out her case, concluding that employers can insist on timely certifications. (Magallanes v. Illinois Bell, No. 05-C-4626, ND IL, 2010)

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