Substandard work before FMLA leave? Beware retaliation suit for later poor reviews


Don’t think that just because an employee was a poor performer before she requested FMLA leave, a poor review after the request can’t be retaliation. If there is other evidence of retaliation (like a direct statement that FMLA leave was a factor), then the previous poor performance won’t be much of a defense.

Negative comments about FMLA use? Call your lawyer because you will be sued

Now is a good time to remind supervisors that making negative comments about FMLA usage can end in litigation. That’s because telling employees that taking time off makes it hard for co-workers who have to pick up the slack can chill further use of FMLA leave, discouraging employees from using time off they are legally entitled to.

Scrub unnecessary FMLA references from handbook

When an employer has an office with fewer than 50 employees within 75 miles of that location, those workers aren’t covered by the FMLA. Make sure you don’t inadvertently give them the impression that they are.

Employers must notify employees of their FMLA rights

HR professionals consistently rate FMLA administration as one of their most difficult tasks. New court decisions constantly affect the FMLA landscape.

Another reason to handle with care after FMLA: Bosses could be held personally liable


FMLA leave is an entitlement and interfering with that leave or punishing a leave taker will backfire. It may even mean personal liability for a manager who decides to punish an employee with an adverse action like termination or demotion.

Lawsuit guarantee: Fire the day FMLA eligibility starts

Employees who have worked for at least one year and put in at least 1,250 hours are eligible for FMLA leave if they work for a covered employer. Expect a lawsuit if, on her one-year anniversary, you fire an employee who has requested FMLA.

Can employee take intermittent FMLA leave to attend her child's sporting events?

Q. An employee’s daughter has diabetes and the employee has intermittent leave to provide assistance and care for her. The employee is now using FMLA leave to attend her daughter’s field hockey games and practices, claiming she needs to be there in case of diabetic complications during athletic events. The health care certification that we received in connection with this FMLA leave request does refer to a need to provide care during “flare ups.” Do we have to continue to permit the mother to attend the games and practices as intermittent FMLA leave?

Lower pay on FMLA return? That's an automatic violation


Employees who take FMLA leave are entitled to the same or an equivalent job when they return. That means that the job must be virtually identical in all aspects, including pay. If you change the pay, the reason is irrelevant—it’s an FMLA violation.

Employee out on FMLA leave: OK to contact for info on urgent matters

Employers aren’t allowed to pester employees to work during FMLA leave. Requiring the employee to work from home to complete assignments, for example, may amount to interference with the right to take FMLA leave. But not every contact or request is enough to support a lawsuit.

FMLA or ADA request? Don't let that derail legitimate discipline or termination decisions


Firing someone right after she requests FMLA leave or an ADA accommodation can often trigger a lawsuit. But timing close alone won’t sink your chances of winning—as long as you have a valid business reason for discharging the employee that is unrelated to illness or disability.

Executive order grants paid sick leave to fed contractors' employees

President Obama picked Labor Day to announce an executive order requiring federal contractors to provide paid sick leave benefits to their employees, including 300,000 workers who currently have no paid leave.

No unemployment for employee who quit fearing discharge

A woman who claimed she feared she would be fired if she took leave to take family members to medical appointments has lost her fight to receive unemployment benefits.

Consider disabled employee's request for accommodation--even if you think it's futile

Supervisors who ignore an employee’s initial oral request for a reasonable accommodation risk exposing their employer to liability if the employee quits and sues. Never dismiss such a request out of hand.

Does FMLA apply? Check local head count


If you have employees in several locations, some may be covered by the FMLA and others may not be. Keep careful track of which is which. The key eligibility factor in the following case was the number of employees working in one of the employer’s two offices. The magic number is 50.

Firing after FMLA: Document legit reasons


Always view termination as an act that might be challenged in court. That’s especially true if the employee has taken FMLA leave in the past. Lawyers love to file FMLA retaliation suits, which can be lucrative. Defend against them by backing up your termination decision with solid documentation of performance or behavior problems.

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