What is the employee’s responsibility to notify us she needs FMLA leave? — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily

What is the employee’s responsibility to notify us she needs FMLA leave?

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in FMLA Guidelines,Human Resources

BY RALPH A. PETERSON and JOHN F. WINDHAM

Q. We received a note from an employee’s physician simply stating that she was ill. On one occasion, she had to go to the emergency room from work, and she subsequently called in sick one day about a month or two later. Is this sufficient notice under the FMLA to require us to regard this as a request for extended FMLA leave?

A.
Under recent court decisions and the new FMLA regulations, the situation you describe would not constitute sufficient notice of the employee’s intent to take FMLA leave. She simply has not informed you as to the seriousness of her health condition or shown any facts that the condition would require extended leave. That’s what the FMLA requires.

Merely informing the employer that the employee was sick is insufficient to suggest the existence of an FMLA-qualifying condition. The new regulations require that the employee provide at least verbal notice sufficient to make the employer aware that the employee needs FMLA-qualifying leave, and the anticipated timing and duration of the leave.

An employer can deny FMLA leave if an employee fails to respond to reasonable inquiries designed to determine if the leave would qualify under the FMLA.

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