Employees nearing the end of their 12 weeks ofhave the right to know when it will expire. You can’t simply calculate when the time will run out and not give a “heads up.” In fact, silence may operate as an unspoken extension.
What’s more, expect anlawsuit if you then refuse to reinstate the employee because she took too much leave. Then a jury will decide whether keeping the information from the employee warrants a big award.
Recent case: Christine Spagnoli, who worked at Brown & Brown, took time off for medical fertility procedures. Although the HR office tracked her FMLA leave, it never told Spagnoli exactly when it would run out.
When she had complications and was hospitalized, she thought she still had FMLA leave in the bank. In fact, the company told her it expected her to come back and never told her she was almost out of time. Internal documents show the company knew and planned to discharge her for exceeding her entitlement.
She sued, and the court ordered a trial based on the apparently misleading communications Spagnoli received while ill. (Spagnoli v. Brown & Brown, No. 06-414, DC NJ, 2007)
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