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Boss nagging employee about FMLA leave? Prepare for lawsuit

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Short staffing makes management difficult. When an employee is out on medical leave, others have to pick up the slack. And there may be precious capacity to do so, given reduced labor budgets and the business imperative to do more with less.

Still, remind supervisors that they can’t push employees who are out on FMLA leave to perform work while on leave. They also can’t ask employees to return early from FMLA leave. Either one is just asking for legal trouble.

Instead, HR should handle all con­tact with employees concerning FMLA leave. The FMLA itself and the Department of Labor’s regulations contain specific guidelines. Follow them.

Concern? Or a threat?

What is the line between checking on a sick employee and harassing a sick employee to return to work early?

Terwilliger v. Howard Memorial Hospital (No. 09-CV-4055, W.D. Arkansas, 2011) draws that line in a case that concluded that the employee was entitled to present to a ...(register to read more)

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Ashley August 24, 2015 at 9:28 pm

I’m currently on fmla leave due to having a baby my boss has been asking other co worker to ask me when I’m coming back to work. Today I get a call from the director saying was I going to returnback to work and was coming back as a housekeeper and he got a email from human rresources saying I was returning back after the first week in September. This is very stressful help!!!


lynn August 6, 2015 at 3:12 pm

I submitted my FLMA paperwork in April of this year. On August 3rd my doctor took my out of work for a few day. She didn’t specify what a few days is and my boss, intending to force the earliest return to work possible demanded that “in that case, I need to be in contact with her daily to advise my status.” Today she sent a text asking if I can’t ask for an “ESTIMATED date of return because others have to do my job.” The job isn’t mine! She has me working it because they won’t fill the three open positions. I feel this is TOTAL harassment.


Rob September 24, 2014 at 11:53 pm

Tell them to request all information through you HR. They’re keeping up with it.


janice tyree March 9, 2014 at 9:16 pm

I am on an intermittent FMLA. My problem is when I go back after missing a day or two the Asst. mgr. tells me you’ve miss x # of days. Did you get with Cindy in personnel to make sure it is listed as FMLA. This would be okay except I already have to call two different numbers when I am out, the walmart number and the Sedgwick Disability claims line with two confirmation numbers. I feel that since it is listed in the system as FMLA when I ask personnel, he is just harassing me by speaking to me in front of other employees about this when I call the numbers they gave me. If someone is not doing their job, it’s not me. I call both numbers and get confirmation numbers for both and I am really tired of him coming to me saying he is not going to write me up but I need to get with Cindy. I take that as a threat.


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