New FMLA regulations went into effect in January. Now is an excellent time to offer everyone in management a refresher course in what the FMLA requires. If managers remain ignorant of the new rules—or the old ones still in place—you increase the risk that an employee will charge them with willful violations.
Remember, you can be personally liable for FMLA mistakes, which could mean a jury award would come out of your own pocket!
Give your staff the knowledge they need to manage all types of leave requests. Employee Leave 2009: Your FMLA, ADA and Workers' Comp Problems Solved will update you on new ADA and FMLA changes, plus boost your success in handling ALL your critical employee-leave issues. Learn more!
Recent case: Melinda Maher worked for the International Paper Co. when her father developed lung cancer. Her mother could not get around without a walker. In short, Maher’s parents had a lot of trouble caring for themselves.
Maher asked her supervisor about taking intermittent FMLA leave so she could take her father to his doctor appointments. Her supervisor told her that since her parents lived together, Maher couldn’t take FMLA leave to care for her father and that her absences would count against her. Maher then asked someone in HR whether this was the right interpretation. She would later testify that the HR rep simply shrugged.
Maher’s father died three days after she called an ambulance to take him to the hospital instead of driving him herself because she was afraid of missing work.
Maher sued, alleging willful FMLA violations.
The supervisor testified that she had checked company manuals and the Internet and couldn’t find anything that said intermittent FMLA leave was OK when an employee wanted to care for a parent living with a spouse.
The court ordered a trial. Now a jury will decide whether the supervisor did enough to educate herself or remained in willful ignorance of the law. (Maher v. International Paper, No. 1:08-CV-212, WD MI, 2009)
With the CD from this interactive audioconference on Employee Leave 2009, noted employment attorney Jonathan Landesman will teach you:
Let us untangle your new responsibilities for you so you can implement trouble-free policies:
- How to distinguish between the new definition of a "serious health condition" (FMLA) and a "disability" (ADA) - and why it matters
- When chronic attendance problems become an "undue hardship" on your company
- How much leave is "enough" under the new ADA
- What new FMLA certification rules require of you - and your employees
- What happens when an employee can't work after 12 weeks of FMLA leave
- When an employee on leave becomes eligible for COBRA — and how your organization must administer the 65% subsidy law
- What happens to health coverage for employees on a "reduced" schedule