Employees are supposed to notify their employers about their need foras soon as is practical. When they are already out on leave with a set return date, the same rule applies if the employee will need more time off. He or she can’t just extend the leave without telling anyone and expect to keep the job.
Recent case: While Kennedy was out on approvedleave, he apparently traveled to Haiti. When he didn’t return after his leave ended, his employer tried calling but got no response. Two weeks later, it fired Kennedy for job abandonment.
Kennedy sued, alleging that he had needed an extension and that the phone system in Haiti was unreliable.
The court tossed out the case. Kennedy was obliged to provide notice. Absent proof that he was unable to do so, failing to provide the notice meant he wasn’t eligible for FMLA leave and his employer could discharge him under a no-show, no-call policy. (Achille v. Chestnut Ridge Transportation, No. 13-1330, 2nd Cir., 2014)
Final note: It pays to include clear directions in your handbook explaining how employees should handle absences. For FMLA leave extensions, designate a specific contact person so he or she can provide new leave forms and let employees know how much more leave they may be entitled to.
Let employees know that if they don’t follow the rules, your no-show, no-call rule will apply.
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- Carefully calculate and communicate how much FMLA leave employee has available