Scrupulously track disciplinary history to combat FMLA-interference lawsuits — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily
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Scrupulously track disciplinary history to combat FMLA-interference lawsuits

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in FMLA Guidelines,Human Resources

After an employee has been fired, he or she often looks for a reason to sue. After all, the former employee has little to lose and much to gain.

Something as innocuous as having used FMLA leave may then become the basis for a lawsuit as the former employee looks for any reason to get into court and perhaps negotiate a quick settlement.

Because you never know what claim a former employee may raise, the best approach is to be prepared for any possibility.

How to do that: Carefully document your disciplinary process, including any progressive discipline, warnings and other evidence that the employee wasn’t performing his job as well as you expect.

Recent case: Peter worked as a contract physician for a medical clinic and also as an emergency room doctor. He preferred the ER shifts and often found others to cover clinic time.

As a result, his record-keeping was often late and the clinic sometimes couldn’t bill for services when Peter’s paperwork hadn’t been prepared and signed. Peter received numerous warnings and finally was discharged.

He sued, pointing out that he had been terminated on a day he was on intermittent FMLA leave to care for his cancer-stricken wife.

But, he couldn’t tie his FMLA usage to his discharge given the volume of documentation the clinic had to show he wasn’t performing his job well. The case was tossed out. (Eriksson v. Deer River Healthcare Center, 13-647, DC MN, 2014)

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