Employee’s resignation stops your FMLA obligation

Q. One of our managers resigned a month ago, but she applied for FMLA leave a day before her resignation. Are we under any obligation to return her to a position she resigned from? Are we obligated to offer her a job when FMLA expires? —T.K., Massachusetts

A. If the employee has truly “resigned,” her employment relationship has ended and she’s no longer an “eligible employee” protected by the FMLA. However, in situations like these, sometimes the employee will deny having resigned and will demand reinstatement under the FMLA.

If you haven’t already done so, send the employee a letter confirming the date of her “voluntary resignation.” If she responds by denying the resignation, you have two options: (1) Take a “hard line” and rely on her oral resignation, or (2) Ignore her “resignation” and treat her as an employee who has requested FMLA leave. Let the facts dictate your action. And in the future, ask all workers to put their resignations in writing.