Employees are entitled to up to 12 weeks ofto deal with their own or a relative’s serious health condition.
Employers can use several methods to calculate that leave, including some that can get complicated. That’s one reasonrequire employers to let employees know how much leave they are entitled to.
Advice: Never ignore an employee’s request for a tally of how muchleave she has used and still has available. Otherwise, you could end up in court if the employee is terminated for exceeding her allotment.
Recent case: Annette Gardner worked for the Great Lakes Cheese Company until she was fired for excessive. Gardner took frequent FMLA leave.
The company used the rolling-calendar method to determine FMLA eligibility. Under that method, each time an employee takes FMLA leave, the remaining leave entitlement is the balance of the 12 weeks that wasn’t used in the immediately preceding 12 months.
Gardner regularly asked for updates and got them. Then her husband had brain surgery and she again asked how much FMLA leave she had coming. This time, she received no response—and was then fired for exceeding her FMLA leave.
Gardner sued, alleging she should have been notified because she would have made other arrangements if she knew she was out of leave and could be fired.
The court said the case should go to a jury. (Gardner v. Great Lakes Cheese, No. 1:10-CV-183, ND OH, 2011)
- After a brief FMLA leave, can we request a second opinion to make sure the worker is ready to return?
- Require health clearance before FMLA return
- For a quick trip to court, allow casual accommodations for some but not others
- Navigating the complexities of a layoff to avoid unnecessary risks
- Combat absenteeism caused by flu-shot shortage