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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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The new Family and Medical Leave Act regulations, which took effect Jan. 16, 2009, required employers to make changes to their FMLA policies, procedures and documentation. Unfortunately, these new regulations have not lessened the complexities of the FMLA as some had originally hoped.

When employees take intermittent FMLA leave, it often causes logistical problems for employers. It’s hard to find someone to fill in during just those times when the employee is off. One solution is to find another position for the employee who’s taking intermittent leave. That way, another employee can temporarily fill her old position on a full-time basis.

Q. An ex-employee who we fired just filed an FMLA lawsuit against us. In addition to our company, he also named as co-defendants the HR, benefits and plant managers, along with me, the president and CEO. We believe the employee was legally terminated. Is there any risk in having our corporate attorney represent all of the defendants in the lawsuit?

Western CEOs could learn a thing or two from their Indian counterparts, say the authors of new research on the difference between Indian and Western bosses. Among the most salient lessons: Lead with a sense of social purpose; invest in employees; act as a role model.

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act doesn’t guarantee pregnant employees any special treatment in the workplace. It simply says you must treat them “the same as any other temporarily disabled employee.” If your organization doesn’t allow other employees to take leave or be placed in light-duty positions, then pregnant employees aren’t entitled to such privileges either.

The FMLA provides protected leave for employees who meet the law’s eligibility requirements. That protection includes the right to reinstatement to the same or an equivalent position when the employee is ready to return to work. But that right has limits. Employers are entirely within their rights to continue any disciplinary action they began before the employee went out on leave.

If you terminate employees who have used up all their FMLA leave and still can’t come back to work, watch out! Make sure you don’t single out any particular class of employees for firing.
The California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) has issued an opinion letter stating that, although employers may not deduct from exempt employees’ salaries for partial-day absences, they may make deductions from employee leave balances in accordance with the employer’s bona fide leave policies.

St. Paul-based White Way Dry Cleaners has paid $42,250 to a former employee who filed an EEOC pregnancy discrimination lawsuit. The case arose when Michelle Johnson was transferred from her job pressing clothes to a counter position after telling her bosses she was pregnant. White Way had a longstanding policy of transferring pregnant employees to protect them from chemicals used in the dry cleaning process.

Q. One of our employees recently completed 12 weeks of FMLA leave to care for an ill family member. She has now requested a 30-day leave to undergo chemical dependency treatment for alcohol abuse. Since she has already utilized all of her available FMLA leave, are we required to grant this most recent leave request?
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