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 searched Twitter for the term “FMLA”? You’ll find some interesting interpretations on how people use their “family” or “medical” time off. Chicago law firm Franczek Radelet PC collected these recent tweets:

As an HR pro, you may have had to guide managers through tough decisions about which functions, jobs and people must be preserved as your organization digs in to survive tough economic times. Don’t neglect your own department!

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act protects women against discrimination because they’re about to have a baby. But the PDA doesn’t grant any special, additional rights to time off for child care. Unless the mother has FMLA or other leave available, there’s no requirement for an employer to accommodate her child care needs.

Employees who need to take time off to attend physical therapy to deal with an injury may believe they’re disabled under the ADA. And they assume the time off must be a reasonable accommodation. That’s not necessarily true.

Exempt employees are generally expected to work as long and as hard as they need to in order to get their jobs done. But that doesn’t mean employers should expect exempt employees returning from FMLA leave to burn the midnight oil to get caught up if no one took up the slack during the absence. Insisting on that is an invitation to be sued for retaliation.

A former school bus driver is suing the Nacogdoches Independent School District, arguing she was fired because of a dire medical condition. She accuses the school district of firing her for exercising her right to medical leave due to a serious health condition under the FMLA. The suit also alleges disability discrimination, race discrimination, retaliation, breach of contract and violations of the Texas Labor Code.

Employers and disabled employees both have an obligation to act like adults when coming up with possible reasonable accommodations. Each side has to listen to the other and consider different viewpoints and potential accommodations. Neither party should walk away in a huff. Be smart: Carefully track the accommodations process.

Whether it’s intentional or not, some supervisors send unmistakable signals that their subordinates had better not take time off unless it’s absolutely necessary. That can mean trouble. Employees who are too scared to ask for leave may later turn around and sue, alleging a deliberate effort to discourage them from taking advantage of the FMLA.

Q. One of our full-time employees took time off when her husband had a heart attack. We’re a small company with 30 employees. Management was very upset and wouldn’t let her take any paid time off and wouldn’t guarantee her position. She had accumulated several weeks of paid leave. Is it legal to keep her from taking paid time off to care for her husband?
Because of a bedrock Constitutional principle, a court has ruled that the FMLA does not cover state government employees who want to take time off due to their own illness. Based on this decision, state employees can only use FMLA leave to care for others.
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