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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.

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Employers that deny an employee the right to reinstatement after protected FMLA leave must make sure there’s solid proof that there was a rational reason for doing so. As a practical matter, that means employers must show that the employee would have lost her job regardless of whether she took FMLA leave.

Employees don’t always give their employers much notice that they need FMLA leave. Nor are they always specific. Now the 7th Circuit Court of Ap­peals has issued a ruling that clarifies what’s expected of both employer and employee in such circumstances.

Do you automatically terminate employees who can’t return to work after exhausting FMLA leave and personal leave? That could violate the ADA.
Some employees think they can walk out on their jobs as soon as it looks like their employer is going to violate their rights. Then they sue, arguing constructive discharge. But courts expect employees to give their employers a chance to right wrongs.
The Minnesota Supreme Court has ruled that employees don’t automatically become eligible for unemployment compensation benefits just because their employer didn’t follow its own progressive disciplinary policy outlined in the employee handbook.
Employees who take FMLA leave may have a retaliation case if their employers discipline them differently than other employees and can’t explain why. That’s why you must be able to explain every discipline decision and differentiate between seemingly similar conduct.

The FMLA lets employees take up to 12 weeks off for their serious health conditions. If an employee gets a certification showing she has a serious health con­dition, you can request a second, independent assessment. But if the second opinion says the condition isn’t serious, that’s not the final word. FMLA regulations require a third opinion as the tiebreaker.

Congressional actions often grab the headlines, but recent executive branch moves have subtly expanded those who qualify for leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act. Make it a point to regularly review your FMLA policy to ensure it is up-to-date and complies with the latest laws, court decisions and Department of Labor regulations and interpretations.

Most people think of 50 as the magic number for the FMLA. “Oh, we have 50 employees, so now we have to comply with the FMLA,” is a popular refrain among HR departments. It is not that simple. The FMLA has two different rules that must be met before you have to offer FMLA leave to an employee—coverage and eligibility.

Q. We have a very overweight employee who wants to have a weight-reduction surgery. This will be expensive and she may be off work for up to six weeks. Do we have to grant her FMLA leave for that time?
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