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.

The costs of employee absenteeism—reflected in lost production, overtime and temporary replacements for the absent worker—can add up quickly. What’s the best way to combat the problem? With a clear policy, careful documentation, consistent application of the policy and progressive discipline.

It’s true that the ADA and FMLA require you to accommodate employees with medical ailments—even employees recovering from alcoholism. But take note: You certainly can enforce a zero-tolerance policy that forbids employees to work while under the influence of alcohol. Employers have every right to expect workers to show up sober in the morning. Being an alcoholic is no excuse.

If you have hiring and firing responsibilities, you may worry from time to time whether you could be held personally liable for your decisions. Now a Texas appeals court has answered that question—at least in situations involving the firing of someone who refuses to engage in an act she believes is illegal. The court said there is no personal liability.

Whenever you hire someone, check your records of past employees. If your new employee is a rehire and last worked for you within seven years, be ready to credit that service if FMLA eligibility ever becomes an issue. If you don’t do that, and wind up denying FMLA leave to an eligible employee, you may have to pay double damages.

Q. We have an employee who will soon go on temporary military duty soon and be gone for several weeks. Do we have to pay him at all during his absence, or does he receive military pay?

You’ve documented the poor performance. You’ve been careful to keep things professional, even as you’ve concluded you’ll probably have to fire the employee. Then he files a discrimination complaint. Avoid the temptation to speed up the usual disciplinary process.

Employers have every right to terminate employees who can’t come to work on time—but not for taking FMLA leave.

One of the best ways to guarantee an employee will get her FMLA case in front of a jury is for her boss to mention her use of FMLA leave while discussing termination. The best idea: Have someone neutral from HR deliver the news that the employee is being let go.

Employers are often confused about how much absenteeism they must allow for employees who haven’t worked long enough to be covered by the FMLA, and who aren’t otherwise entitled to miss work as a reasonable accommodation for a disability. The bottom line is that if you treat everyone equally, you can set high attendance expectations—and fire those who don’t meet them.

In recent years, employees have begun filing more and more “caregiver” or “family responsibility” discrimination lawsuits. No federal or Minnesota law specifically addresses discrimination against caregivers. However, treating employees with caregiving responsibilities differently than other employees may violate various employment laws, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the ADA, the FMLA and the Minnesota Human Rights Act.