Employees on FMLA leave are entitled to be left alone. Supervisors shouldn’t send work home with the employee or call constantly to check up. That could be considered FMLA leave interference. That doesn’t mean, however, that you can’t get in touch with the employee about important and urgent matters or enforce your broader call-in policies.
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.
The FMLA is difficult to administer, especially now that it has been amended to include additional time off in connection with military service. Plus, new FMLA regulations make more workers eligible for leave if they care for a child. Rest assured that if you promptly fix an innocent mistake when it’s brought to your attention, you won’t be automatically liable for FMLA interference.
Make sure your supervisors know they must consider post-surgery ADA accommodations and should forward such requests to HR. Under no circumstances should an employee be summarily fired just because she’s used up her FMLA leave and still needs help during recovery.
When employees need intermittent FMLA leave, they are entitled to take time off free from work responsibilities. Of course, that may leave some tasks undone. Some employees, especially those in management positions, may feel obliged to work additional hours, or may sometimes forgo taking leave. As long as there’s no employer pressure to get the work done, that extra work won’t support an FMLA-interference lawsuit.
Generally, employees claiming they suffered retaliation after engaging in protected activity—such as complaining about discrimination or taking protected FMLA leave—must show that the retaliation would have dissuaded a reasonable employee from complaining or taking leave. The hypothetical reasonable employee standard isn’t very specific.
Q. An employee has requested FMLA leave to care for her 5-year-old niece who is recovering from heart surgery. The employee’s sister and her daughter live with the employee. Is leave under these circumstances protected under the FMLA?
Here’s good news for employers trying to manage FMLA leave and prevent abuse: If an employee’s FMLA certification form is incomplete or vague, you don’t have to accept it … you can deny FMLA leave to that person. Just make sure you give the employee at least seven calendar days to correct deficiencies on the form.