The provides covered employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for a serious health condition. Employers can require a medical certification and get and pay for a second and third certification if they question the employee’s condition. But employers who don’t ask for the second or third certification aren’t forever barred from challenging the employee’s condition, as a recent Michigan case shows.
Recent case: Robert Mitchell worked for the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department until he didn’t show up for a random drug screen. Mitchell claimed he was fired because he took for a back injury.
At the time he took FMLA leave, the Sheriff’s Department didn’t challenge whether he had a serious health condition, as it could have done under the law. Mitchell said that meant his former employer was forever barred from questioning his FMLA eligibility.
Not so, ruled the federal court. Employers who don’t ask for a second or third opinion can still challenge eligibility. (Mitchell v. County of Wayne, No. 05-73698, ED MI, 2007)
- Providing additional leave? Employee loses some rights
- In tough cases, safety first: Attempted suicide at work grounds for discharge
- Train supervisors on FMLA notice process
- Notify workers quickly that leave counts toward Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) time.
- Offer at least 15 days to turn in FMLA paperwork