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Clarify internal rules for handling FMLA requests

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in FMLA Guidelines,Human Resources

Make sure that whoever in your organization handles FMLA and other leave knows to contact HR as soon as a leave request comes in. Then make sure you send out the appropriate FMLA paperwork along with any other required documents.

Recent case: When Keri developed wrist pains, she contacted the leave clerk, who explained how to request paid short-term disability leave. She did not, however, say anything about protected FMLA leave. Keri took the paid leave, but was fired when her time was up.

Keri sued, alleging she should also have been considered for FMLA leave. Her former employer argued that she only asked about paid leave, so it had no obligations under the FMLA.

The court ordered a trial to determine if the employer was on notice Keri might be eligible for FMLA leave, too. (Towns v. Northeast Mississippi Electric Power Association, No. 11-60573, 5th Cir., 2012)

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