FMLA

Hershey Med settles with fired cancer surgeon

06/29/2015
The Penn State Hershey Medical Center has agreed to settle a lawsuit alleging that a cancer surgeon was fired in retaliation for defending the rights of his secretary, who was fighting breast cancer.

New FMLA forms address GINA safe harbor

06/29/2015
The U.S. Department of Labor has modified its FMLA forms to include employer safe harbor language required under the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act.

You, not employee, choose ADA accommodation

06/26/2015
Yes, employers are supposed to engage in an interactive process to arrive at reasonable ADA accommodations. But that doesn’t mean everything the employee wants, the employee gets. It’s up to the employer to determine which accommodation is both reasonable and best suited to its business needs.

Does FMLA apply to same-sex spouses who don't live in states that recognize same-sex marriage?

06/18/2015
Q. We have operations in South Dakota, and one of our employees there has requested FMLA leave to care for his same-sex spouse for an FMLA-qualified reason. The couple was married in Minnesota, but South Dakota does not recognize same-sex marriage. Should we grant the FMLA leave request?

Extra leave isn't always ADA accommodation

06/16/2015
The FMLA and the ADA are supposed to work together so employees who need some time off for serious health conditions and disabilities don’t lose their jobs. Fortunately for employers, there are limits to leave—especially for jobs that require regular attendance.

Absent with no excuse? That's willful misconduct

06/09/2015
Employees who are fired for willful misconduct aren’t eligible for unemployment compensation. Not following the employer’s call-off rules is willful misconduct and may bar benefits.

When employee has FMLA history, beware punishing for suddenly going home

06/09/2015
It’s almost always inconvenient to have an employee suddenly leave in the middle of a shift. But if the under­­lying reason is an FMLA-covered con­­dition and he gave you enough information to make you realize the time off might be covered by the FMLA, think twice before punishing the early departure.

After FMLA leave, watch timing of firing

06/09/2015
Generally, employees who take FMLA leave are only entitled to their job back if they are able to return to work right after their 12 weeks of time off expires. Imme­­di­­ately terminating the employee without a good reason may backfire, because it could be seen as retaliation for taking leave.

DOL's new FMLA forms are valid for three years

06/05/2015
The U.S. Department of Labor has finally gotten around to revising its official FMLA forms on more than a month-by-month basis.

OK to call employee who is on FMLA leave--just keep the conversation short and sweet

06/03/2015

Employees out on FMLA leave are supposed to be freed of their regular work responsibilities. They are on leave, after all. Some supervisors have taken this to mean that they may never call an employee who is out on FMLA leave to discuss work-related matters. That’s not entirely true.

Give lots of notice before changing FMLA rules

06/01/2015

Employees who need FMLA leave must notify their employers either 30 days before, if the need is foreseeable, or as soon as “practicable” if the need is unforeseeable. Thus, elective surgery requires 30 days’ notice, while emergency surgery does not. Lots of employers, however, have far less formal rules in place. Some allow a simple doctor’s note to stand in as a request for FMLA leave.

When can we terminate during medical leave?

05/28/2015
Q. We have an employee who has been on workers’ comp for nine months. He’s not planning to have his fractured ankle operated on. HR wants to terminate him on the grounds that (after the operation) he will have been on FMLA for over a year. We realize the employee would still be carried by our insurer. Can we legally terminate an employee on workers’ comp after a year’s medical leave? — Vincent, Louisiana

Sudden FMLA leave? Focus on logistics

05/26/2015
There’s no doubt that a key em­­ployee’s sudden and unexpected extended absence can disrupt business. Even so, remind supervisors to keep their gripes to themselves if it turns out that the employee is exercising her FMLA rights.

When is it OK to call an employee who is out on FMLA leave?

05/26/2015
When employees are out on FMLA leave, they’re supposed to be freed of their regular work responsibilities. While you shouldn’t give an employee specific work tasks or expect her to spend her time working at home, you can make simple inquiries, such as asking about the status of a project or where a file may be located. Just keep the conversation brief and professional.

OK to discipline for intermittent leave abuse

05/19/2015
Unexpected absences can cause scheduling headaches. However, since FMLA leave is an entitlement, there isn’t much employers can do—at least when the call-offs are legitimate. But not every absence is legit.
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