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Catch Fishy FMLA Requests With the 3 R’s

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Have you ever been suspicious about an employee’s request for FMLA leave? Employees have learned to play the FMLA game quite well in the 17 years since the law was passed. In this new case, an "attendance-challenged" employee was denied extra vacation leave for her wedding, so she then submitted an FMLA leave request for those same dates. Hmmmm … smell fishy?

Case in Point: Theresa Moran worked as a school bus driver in Michigan and was a member of the local union. She had a history of excessive absenteeism.

Moran was planning to get married in Florida, so she requested additional vacation leave beyond the five days allowed. Her supervisor granted the request on the condition that Moran have no more attendance problems going forward. But, that didn’t happen. Moran’s attendance problems continued. So, as expected, her supervisor denied the additional vacation time to go to Florida.

Plot twist: A few weeks before the schedu...(register to read more)

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

shelly smith May 19, 2010 at 11:50 am

your work will always be there. your family,friends, and the REAL things in life wont always be there. if employers would give these people the time off work they requested then so many people would not be getting fmla’s. my priorities are time spent with family, not work!! there are some things in life and some moments that you will never get back, i absolutly refuse to let work dictate to me whats important in my life. i dont believe for one second that 5 days off a year is enough qualitity time to give my family!! they are worth much more of my time than that. some employers act like if your not there the place will burn down ( well, it probably wont) so im taking the day off!! people deserve to take time off to remember why they go to work in the first place, and a majority of employers force people into the position of having to get fmla’s. if i cant enjoy my life then why am i going to work so much, whats the point! thats why so many people are messed up in the head because there life passes them by and all they do is work work work because they cant get any quality time with friends and family to remember the joy of life.


Jim K January 27, 2010 at 5:20 pm

Unless there has been a change that I am unaware of your advice to require a doctor’s note when an employee is absent due to a chronic condition that flares intermittently conflicts with the written regulation (825.115), which states that the condition may flare on an episodic basis but does not require treatment by a physician.
The only requirement under this particular provision is that the employee must be treated on a periodic basis, which under the new regulations has been determined to be every 6 months.
However, your advice may be valid depending upon the existence and wording of an existing companywide attendance policy.


Mary M January 21, 2010 at 6:32 pm

If an employee takes FMLA leave for elective surgery over one of our busiest times and then recouperates in Las Vegas do we have any recourse?


Dr. C. Fields, MBA, Ph.D. (ABD) January 21, 2010 at 4:50 pm


As ALWAYS, Mindy’s postings are “right-on-time” and very informative!

Thank you.

Dr. StillStanding


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