Q. One of our employees had been out sick for two months. We’ve received a doctor’s note that just says he’s unable to work and that a return date is undetermined. We faxed and mailed , but it hasn’t been returned. Meanwhile, the employee is receiving disability benefits through our short-term disability plan. How do we calculate the start of ? From the date the disability payment began? And if we never get the paperwork back, can we terminate him? — T.B., Tennessee
A. Whether an employee is eligible for FMLA leave and whether he or she is entitled to short-term disability benefits are two separate issues.
If you have an employee who has—for several months—essentially refused to provide you with information sufficient to establish that he suffers from a serious health condition or is otherwise qualified for FMLA leave, you can and should terminate this employee. In this instance, the receipt of disability insurance benefits is irrelevant.