FMLA Guidelines

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.

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If all an employee does is tell you about the diagnosis of her medical condition, that’s not enough to trigger her FMLA rights. For example, the employee can’t just state that she’s been diagnosed with depression and then, the next time she misses work, expect the time off to be automatically considered FMLA leave.

It’s perfectly legitimate to prohibit recreational travel during any approved, paid sick leave. If you also happen to substitute paid sick leave for unpaid FMLA leave, you can still enforce the same no-vacations policy.

Courts seldom second-guess employers for making tough economic decisions, as long as it’s obvious those decisions were made honestly and not as a cover for discrimination. Make that clear by documenting the decisions at the time you make them.

Sometimes, an employee needs just a few hours of FMLA leave, for example, to make a doctor’s appointment or to drive a relative to treatment. The employee may find it more convenient to take the entire day off, but you don’t have to allow it. Should the employee not return after the appointment, you are free to treat the absence as unauthorized.
An employer that can show it would have terminated an employee for lack of work or another business reason can do so during FMLA leave. However, it must be able to offer clear, documented proof showing the move wasn’t related to the leave.
Employees who want to take additional intermittent leave under the FMLA must comply when their employer asks for recertification.
The 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals recently held that supervisors may be subject to individual liability under the FMLA. Employers in New York should be aware that plaintiffs who allege a violation of their FMLA rights may name individual supervisors as defendants in their lawsuits.

Some employees mistakenly believe that when they take FMLA leave, they are guaranteed an unchanged job when they return. That’s not true. What the FMLA promises is that employees who take protected leave will be returned to the same or an equivalent job.

Here’s something to watch out for when approving a supervisor’s recommendation to discipline or discharge an employee. If the employee has re­­quested FMLA leave and was previously performing well, be suspicious of claims that she’s now performing poorly.
Q. Two of our employees live together but are not married. They want to take FMLA leave at the same time after their child is born. Since they work in the same section, doing similar work, this would be a big problem. If they were married, we could make them share the 12 weeks. Can we force them to do the same even if they aren’t married?
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