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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While employee handbooks are not required by law, they can prove essential — especially for small business owners that can't afford to lose a harassment or discrimination lawsuit. The employee handbook has become an essential tool in the employer’s arsenal to defend against liability for employment decisions.

Some employees don’t like being told they have to put in OT, especially if they have medical conditions that make it difficult to work extended hours. However, you are within your rights to insist on overtime. Employees with a serious health condition that precludes working extra hours may have to go on intermittent FMLA leave.
Employers sometimes mistakenly focus only on the FMLA provision that defines a serious health condition as one that incapacitates an employee for three calendar days or more. Don’t focus solely on illnesses of three days’ duration. If the employee has a brief flare-up of an underlying condition that has been treated in the past, he may be eligible for FMLA leave.

Federal courts often use the well-known McDonnell Douglas burden-shifting test to determine whether an employer has unlawfully discriminated against an employee. Now the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that when it considers an Illinois workers’ compensation retaliation claim, it must apply an Illinois state law rule that is more demanding for employees than the McDonnell Douglas test.

Some workers decide to provide notice that they’ll need FMLA leave long before they’re even eligible for coverage. When you get such a request, don’t reject it out-of-hand.
Q. How does the recent amendment to the Illinois Family Military Leave Act affect employers?
Employers naturally expect employees to show up on a regular basis, unless there’s an illness or emergency.But some employees have medical or other conditions that cause sporadic attendance. If they claim a disability, then they must be able to prove they can perform a job’s essential functions with or without reasonable accommodations.

 

Employees don’t have much time to file ADA or NJLAD disability discrimination claims with the appropriate agency. For failure-to-accommodate claims, the clock starts ticking when the employer ends the interactive reasonable accommodations process. That’s why employers must nail down that date and tell the employee.

Employees are protected against retaliation for taking FMLA leave. Disciplining an employee who has just returned from such leave is risky, especially if you can’t point to anything truly objective as the reason. Attributing a “poor attitude” to returning employees is a bad idea unless you can provide specific examples of actual work deficiencies.

Q. We have an employee returning from FMLA leave. His physician has issued a fitness-for-duty certificate. However, we have doubts about the worker’s ability to perform his job because he wasn’t off work very long ... Can we send him to another physician for a second fitness-for-duty examination?