FMLA Guidelines — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Page 80
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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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Back in August, we told you how a federal court had dismissed a case involving a woman who had taken her child out of day care for the summer and asked for FMLA leave so she could care for him until school started. (See “School’s out for summer! But the FMLA doesn’t cover day care”.) Now the same court has reinstated the lawsuit after taking another look at the facts.

Employees have to work at least 1,250 hours in a year to qualify for FMLA leave. They also must have been employed for a total of one year. Thus, while many part-time employees may qualify for FMLA leave, others won’t because they haven’t met those thresholds. But now some hourly employees and their attorneys are trying a new approach.

Be careful how supervisors treat employees returning from FMLA leave. Otherwise you could face an interference or retaliation lawsuit. Bosses must treat a returning employee the same way she was treated before she went out on leave. Any sudden, increased scrutiny spells trouble.

Q. An employee recently requested a leave of absence because her husband left for Afghanistan. We denied her request. Now, I’m worried that we may have acted wrongly. Did we?
Q. Is there any help you can provide on how we should obtain medical information from employees taking FMLA leave?
Q. An employee worked for us for years, took four years off to have a child and was rehired nine months ago. She asked for time off because her child needed surgery. We refused because we thought she was not FMLA-eligible. After we terminated her for an unauthorized leave of absence, we received a nasty letter from her attorney threatening to sue us for violating her rights under the FMLA. Who’s right?
Here’s a new Florida case you should be aware of. A federal district court judge has allowed an FMLA interference case to go forward based on an employee’s testimony that she was absent due to a serious health condition when her employer terminated her.
When it comes to FMLA leave, many employers have internal procedures that are somewhat stricter than those specified in the FMLA. That doesn’t mean, however, that employers shouldn’t be flexible under emergency circumstances. Holding an employee to an impossible requirement won’t fly with courts.
Doctors sometimes tell pregnant employees they can’t lift anything in excess of a certain weight. If the job requires such lifting, there is nothing to prevent the employer from placing the pregnant worker on FMLA leave.
An employee’s request to take FMLA leave can be frustrating for supervisors who have to manage schedules and projects. But if they voice those concerns in a way that seems angry or annoyed, they may be creating the perfect storm for an FMLA interference lawsuit. Remind them to accept FMLA requests professionally, without emotion.
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