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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Firing someone right after she requests FMLA leave or an ADA accommodation can often trigger a lawsuit. But timing close alone won’t sink your chances of winning—as long as you have a valid business reason for discharging the employee that is unrelated to illness or disability.

Q. We have an employee who is on final warning due to his poor attendance. The employee recently requested FMLA leave to care for his wife. While on FMLA leave, it was reported in the newspaper that the employee was arrested for drug possession. He was in jail for several days, including several workdays. The employee is now out of jail and wants to return to work. Can we treat the employee’s absences from work while in jail as occurrences under our attendance policy, or do we have to treat the time as FMLA leave, even though the employee could not have been caring for his wife the days in question since he was in jail?
A woman who claimed she feared she would be fired if she took leave to take family members to medical appointments has lost her fight to receive unemployment benefits.

If you have employees in several locations, some may be covered by the FMLA and others may not be. Keep careful track of which is which. The key eligibility factor in the following case was the number of employees working in one of the employer’s two offices. The magic number is 50.

In an August webinar, attorney Michelle Maslowski of Ogletree Deakins shone a spotlight on Family and Medical Leave Act edge cases that reveal what a puzzle this law can be ... and then provided answers.

Always view termination as an act that might be challenged in court. That’s especially true if the employee has taken FMLA leave in the past. Lawyers love to file FMLA retaliation suits, which can be lucrative. Defend against them by backing up your termination decision with solid documentation of performance or behavior problems.

Employers have the right to set reasonable call-off requirements for when an employee will miss a shift or arrive late. Employees can be required to follow those rules. If someone doesn’t, you can discipline him—even if you approved FMLA leave for the absence. But beware: If you don’t consistently enforce the call-off rule, you may be on the losing end of an FMLA lawsuit.

HR professionals consistently rate FMLA administration as one of their most difficult tasks. New court decisions constantly affect the FMLA landscape.
Do you have an employee with a serious health condition you cannot accommodate? You can insist that she take FMLA leave. There is no legal requirement to go along with her suggestions for elaborate and expensive accommodations that might let her continue working.

It may be disruptive and expensive to provide an employee with up to 12 weeks of FMLA leave and continue to cover your share of an employee’s health insurance premiums. But ignoring your FMLA obligation—or trying to find creative ways around it—can be even more costly to your organization. Consider this recent Pennsylvania case in which the employee ended up losing her medical coverage during a health crisis. The employer has now been ordered to pay the employee’s medical bills directly.

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