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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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Have you ever been suspicious about an employee’s request for FMLA leave? Employees have learned to play the FMLA game quite well in the 17 years since the law was passed. In this new case, an "attendance-challenged" employee was denied extra vacation leave for her wedding, so she then submitted an FMLA leave request for those same dates. Hmmmm … smell fishy?

After last year’s swine flu scare, there’s good reason to worry about the upcoming flu season. A serious outbreak could incapacitate employers operating with lean staffing. Some employees may want to take time off if they suspect they’re coming down with the flu. And at least some of those workers may assume that sick time off will be covered by the FMLA. That’s where things get tricky.

It's unfortunate that as an HR professional you have to add managing FMLA abuse to your "to do list." But the reality is that the complexities of the FMLA open the door for unscrupulous workers to take advantage of the law and your organization — by requesting leave for not-so-serious health problems, or worse, by taking intermittent leave as a way to escape disciplinary action for tardiness or poor attendance.

California lawmakers—and courts—don’t like noncompete agreements because they limit employee mobility and career growth. Most employers understand that they can’t enforce such agreements if an employee leaves. But what about an informal “gentlemen’s agreement” between competitors to refrain from hiring employees who signed agreements?

Elective surgery that isn’t medically necessary may not be eligible for FMLA leave because the employee having the procedure may not be suffering from a serious health condition. Challenge such leave requests by asking for the second and third certifications that the FMLA allows.

The EEOC has filed suit against Princeton Healthcare System, claiming its leave policies violated the ADA. According to the EEOC complaint, Princeton Healthcare fires employees who aren’t eligible for leave under the FMLA if they cannot return to work in seven days.

It happens. Some working relationships between bosses and their direct reports are so toxic that employees suffer psychological problems. Sometimes the tension is so bad that employees believe they’re disabled and therefore entitled to transfer to another job under another supervisor. That isn’t the case.

Want to stop FMLA abuse? Then get strict about enforcing your certification requirements. There’s no reason employees should be allowed to simply say they need FMLA leave. Instead, make them turn in certifications within tight deadlines.

Some employees are difficult, always skating on thin ice. They’re disruptive, don’t listen to directions and pretty much do whatever they want. Even so, employers often hesitate to fire such troublemakers if they’ve recently requested FMLA leave or claimed to be disabled. Don’t be manipulated into keeping those bad apples.

Q. We have an employee who cares for a child but does not have a legal or biological relationship to the child. The employee wants to take a child-related leave under the FMLA. Is she eligible?
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