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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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.

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.

The California Supreme Court has ruled that employers that don’t have a formal sick-leave accrual policy don’t have to pay employees for leave they take to care for a family member. So-called “kin-care” benefits apply only if employees earn sick leave over the course of their employment.

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.

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.

Here’s a reminder that HR needs to do everything in its power to get FMLA decisions right: If you turn down an FMLA request and then punish the employee for missing work, she could sue, claiming she was retaliated against for requesting FMLA leave in the first place. Reversing the original FMLA decision won’t end the case.

The Toledo City Council voted to pay $450,000 to settle a race discrimination and wrongful-termination lawsuit brought by two former city employees. That makes for a happy ending to a two-year legal odyssey for Office of Affirmative Action Director Perlean Griffin, and executive director of the city’s Youth Commission Dwayne Moorehead, who served under former Mayor Carty Finkbeiner.

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?

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