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.
Thanks to a recent 11th Circuit Court of Appeals decision, it’s now clear that Florida employers can terminate employees who have FMLA leave coming—if they can prove they would have terminated the employee anyway. To prove that, you must be able to produce solid documentation showing that you were indeed going to terminate the employee whether or not she asked for FMLA leave.
It comes as a bolt out of the blue: The Florida Commission on Human Relations notifies you that there’s “reasonable cause” to believe retaliation was the reason a female employee lost out on a promotion to a male co-worker. But it was a clean promotion process! How did this happen? As it turns out, this is the “cat’s paw” doctrine at work.
Employers can use no-fault attendance policies as a way to control absenteeism. There’s no doubt about the effectiveness of no-fault programs, which allow a certain number of unexcused absences without any documentation, and then punish employees who go beyond allowable limits. But before you fire an employee for breaking your absenteeism rules, carefully consider whether he is eligible for FMLA leave.
Is your workforce less diverse than the local labor market? You can head off discrimination lawsuits by citing legitimate business needs that justify hiring rules that seem to cause disparities. The best approach: Have a clear business justification for any screening or job criteria you use, even if you don’t expect they will cause a disparate impact on any protected group.
Some employees may want to save up their FMLA leave for an anticipated event like a birth or upcoming surgery. Even if they’re eligible for intermittent FMLA leave, they may request that they not be docked for the time off. If you agree not to charge the time off against FMLA leave, make sure you document the request. Then feel free to treat the absences as you would any other absence under your attendance policy.
You can terminate employees who are unable to return to their jobs after their FMLA leave has expired. Just make sure you’re consistent. If you apply the same termination rule to all employees—regardless of race, age, sex or membership in any other protected category—you won’t have to worry about lawsuits.