Q. When an employee requested a reduced schedule as an accommodation of his medical condition, we agreed. He has now told us that he is able to work full time. However, because of business conditions, we’d prefer to keep him at a reduced schedule. Do we have to reinstate him to his full-time job?
We’ll assist you in tracking and managing intermittent FMLA leave … fighting FMLA fraud and FMLA abuse … and managing FMLA in general.
Beyond mastering FMLA regulations on intermittent leave, we’ll share FMLA guidelines on how to curb FMLA abuse, and dramatically improve your overall FMLA compliance.
Q. An employee left work on a Monday due to an illness. She called in sick Tuesday and Wednesday, but we heard nothing on Thursday or Friday. Our policy calls for termination if the employee doesn’t contact us within three days. We posted her job on Friday and decided to terminate her. On Monday, her fiancé called to tell us she was pregnant and had complications that led to a hospital visit. We got a note from her obstetrician saying she’d been examined, but not indicating when she could return. What should we do to avoid any legal fallout?
An Illinois court has ruled that employees who request FMLA leave before they’ve met the eligibility thresholds are protected from retaliation. An employer can’t, for example, fire such an employee because he says he will soon be taking FMLA leave and perhaps undergo expensive medical treatment.
The FMLA grants eligible employees the right to take time off to deal with their own or a covered relative’s serious health condition. What has been unclear until now is what happens when an employee rushes to the emergency room believing a true medical emergency exists, only to find out that the condition was less serious than originally believed.
Employees who take FMLA leave are entitled to return to their former jobs, or at least equivalent ones in terms of pay, responsibilities and the like. Ignoring that requirement and making job changes is the quickest way to an FMLA lawsuit.
Q. How do we handle an employee who is on an indefinite leave of absence and does not know when he will be able to return to work?
Sometimes, a union contract clashes with employment laws. It’s then up to an arbitrator to reconcile the two—and an arbitrator’s decision is rarely overturned on appeal.
Employees who are promised they can take “FMLA leave” may have a claim against an employer even if it turns out the company isn’t required to comply with the FMLA because it has fewer than 50 employees. Employees can argue that the employer misled them, and that the company should therefore be required to comply with the FMLA.
Employees who return from FMLA-covered maternity leave are supposed to come back to the same or a substantially equivalent position. Don’t make the mistake of offering a position that has the same title and pay, but which involves very different duties. That’s especially true if those duties are more onerous for a new mother.
Don’t be so quick to pull out the “request denied” stamp when employees want to use FMLA leave to determine whether they have a qualifying “serious condition.” As a new court ruling shows, if an employee simply thinks she has a serious condition, she may take FMLA leave to have it checked out.