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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.

The new FMLA regulations say employers can enforce their usual call-in rules, such as requiring employees to call in before missing a shift. That rule change made employers rejoice, assuming they could safely discharge employees who didn’t show up and didn’t call in. But a new case calls that assumption into question.

Could an oversized waistline put your future career at risk? Career columnist Anita Bruzzese says, “If you’re carrying too much weight—enough to be considered overweight or obese—then you’re a concern to employers.”

You probably don’t check up on most employees who call in sick because they do it infrequently and most likely are being truthful. However, every organization has its share of workers who abuse sick-leave policies. No state or federal laws regulate how employers can handle workers who call in sick. But beware: Going too far to ferret out shirkers could invite discrimination and harassment claims, and unnecessarily damage morale.

Because FMLA leave is an entitlement, employers aren’t allowed to interfere with it. And interference can include requiring employees to perform work during their leave. That’s why it’s important to make arrangements for work to be completed without help from the employee on leave.

Some employers foolishly worry that they may violate the ADA or the FMLA if they enforce a zero-tolerance policy that forbids employees to work under the influence of alcohol. The simple reality is that employers have every right to expect workers to show up sober in the morning. Furthermore, being an alcoholic is no excuse.

Without you realizing it, low morale can creep into your organization. Check every day to make sure people stay in tune. Here are 10 sour notes to listen for:

Requiring an employee to undergo a fitness-for-duty examination to show he can perform his job doesn’t mean you’re regarding him as disabled or essentially conceding he is disabled. How you handle the exam results is what matters—not that you ordered an exam in the first place. If the exam shows the employee can perform the job, make sure you immediately reinstate him.

Employees often claim their jobs stress them out. And for some, it’s so bad they feel they need to take off work for a week or so to cope. That doesn’t mean, however, that employees are automatically entitled to use FMLA leave. Even if they get a doctor to write a note “prescribing” rest, they don’t qualify for FMLA leave unless there’s some additional treatment ordered, such as medication or counseling.

Who likes confrontation at work? Yet that fear of confrontation can drive a manager to write a glowing evaluation for an average or poor-performing employee—just to avoid conflict and hurt feelings. One court recently warned managers to get over the fear and document accurately … or you’ll lose key legal defenses needed to win discrimination lawsuits.

Once again it's time for "March Madness." If your workplace is like many, talk of NCAA tournament picks and the Final Four will be everywhere, as well as bets on the games. While office pools are a lot of fun, they also can present some risk for employers. Consider having a written policy regarding workplace gambling to prevent things from getting out of control.