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Must we offer FMLA if person can no longer do the job?

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in FMLA Guidelines,Human Resources

Q. One of our truck drivers just had a bypass operation and now has a defibrillator, which means, according to the DOT, he can no longer drive a truck. Do we still need to give this driver 12 weeks of FMLA time since he will never be able to return to work? — Anonymous, Nebraska

A. Yes, you must follow through with his FMLA leave. Pursuant to that law, it appears your driver is entitled to 12 weeks of job-protected leave and the right to continue his employee health benefits at the employee rate while on leave. After that leave, it does appear he will not be able to obtain a government-required medical clearance to work as a commercial motor vehicle driver. If that is the case, you cannot return him to the position he held before.

However, in order to comply with the ADA, when he is ready to return you should explore the possibility that he could perform another open position. Even if there is no work he could perform after his leave, the FMLA leave time is valuable. You should document it and make sure he receives the full amount to avoid an interference or retaliation claim.

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