FMLA: It’s not your job to decide whether relative needs your employee’s help — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily

FMLA: It’s not your job to decide whether relative needs your employee’s help

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in FMLA Guidelines,Human Resources

The FMLA provides leave for employees who need to care for seriously ill family members. Some employers argue that if several family members are providing care, they don’t have to approve FMLA leave if that means more than one family member would be present. That argument won’t fly.

Recent case: Jerry Romans worked at a juvenile detention facility. His mother was hospitalized for cancer and was expected to die soon.

Toward the end of a shift, Romans’ sister called to tell him she expected their mother to die that night. She asked him to come to the hospital, so the two of them could make care decisions, including whether to cut off their mother’s life support.

Romans told his supervisor he needed to leave to care for his dying mother. The supervisor told him that he needed to stay and work a second shift since another employee had just called in sick. Romans arranged for a substitute and left despite orders to stay.

Romans went to the hospital, but worried that he would lose his job. Instead of seeing his mother, who died, he returned to work. Then he sued, alleging interference with FMLA leave.

The employer argued he wasn’t entitled to leave since his sister was already present at their mother’s bedside. The court disagreed and said that under the circumstances, Romans should have been granted leave immediately. (Romans v. Michi­­gan, No. 10-2174, 6th Cir., 2012)

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