FMLA

Patience--and focus on job performance--are key when dealing with difficult employee

08/08/2011

It’s often quite obvious when an em­­ployee is having personal problems that she needs to resolve. But employers have to treat such an employee carefully to avoid a possible ADA regarded-as-disabled lawsuit. The key is patience and focusing on workplace performance issues rather than any suspected disability.

Base FMLA eligibility on date leave begins, not date employee requests it

08/08/2011
Some employees—seeing their FMLA eligibility on the horizon—may ask for FMLA leave before they’ve actually hit the one-year and 1,250-hour eligibility milestones. That’s OK. Remember, employers can’t deny an employee’s FMLA re­­quest simply because it was made before the employee became eligible.

Need to fire someone with known medical issues? Be prepared to prove your good faith

07/29/2011

Disabled employees or those who need FMLA leave aren’t immune from following work rules. But think carefully before you punish them. It is possible to terminate an employee who has announced he needs time off or an accommodation. How­ever, you must have a legitimate rea­son—and you must be able to demonstrate that the company acted in good faith.

You must grant FMLA leave for employee who must care for badly injured adult child

07/29/2011

Eligible employees can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid FMLA leave to care for a seriously ill son or daughter. That’s true for young children, of course, but also for those older than 18 who are “incapable of self-care because of a mental or physical disability.” Don’t split hairs on this.

When disaster strikes, are employees eligible for FMLA?

07/29/2011
With tornados, floods and fires topping the news in recent months, a question arises: What’s an employer’s obligation to give FMLA leave when the disaster affects employees or their families?

Do we have to tolerate moonlighting by employee who is out on FMLA leave?

07/26/2011
Q. We recently learned that an employee on FMLA leave is working for another company. Can we fire him?

Requesting light duty isn't an official FMLA request

07/26/2011
The FMLA grants time off for em­­ployees with serious health conditions, but they must let employers know they need leave. Simply requesting light-duty work isn’t enough.

Out of FMLA leave--and out of luck?

07/13/2011
Q. One of our employees has a recurring illness that flares up every so often. By taking a few weeks off here and there, he has used all of his paid time off (PTO) and exhausted his FMLA leave. If he has another flare-up, do we have to permit him to take time off even though it would be more than the FMLA requires or our policies allow?

If employee can't return from FMLA leave, it's not interference to terminate

07/13/2011

Employees who take FMLA leave to deal with their own serious health condition are entitled to reinstatement to their jobs or substantially identical ones when they return. But what if the employee isn’t ready to come back after 12 weeks? In that case, employers don’t have to reinstate the employee—at least not under the FMLA.

OK to cut position of worker on FMLA leave--if you can prove FMLA status didn't affect decision

07/13/2011

Employees who take FMLA leave are usually eligible for reinstatement, but not always. If you were going to eliminate the position anyway, the employee may be out of luck. Before you deny reinstatement, be sure you can clearly show that the position was cut for reasons completely unrelated to the employee’s FMLA leave.

Beware denying 'vacation' request in disguise

07/13/2011

If there’s no use-it-or-lose-it policy in place, employees can easily stockpile weeks of vacation or personal leave. Should they become ill, they may try to use that time as a substitute for FMLA leave. If an employee asks you to approve an especially long vacation, and you suspect the underlying reason may be a covered condition under the FMLA, beware automatically rejecting the request.

Base FMLA eligibility on date leave begins

07/13/2011

Employees have to give 30 days’ notice before taking FMLA leave. That means some employees may ask for FMLA leave before they are actually eligible. For example, an employee may request time off for a serious health condition when he still has a few hours more to work before hitting the one-year or 1,250-hour milestone. Employers can’t deny the request merely because it was made before the employee became eligible.

FMLA policy: How do I draft it if few are eligible?

07/13/2011
Q. Our company has 250 employees in eight states, but we have FMLA eligible employees in only one state. As I rewrite our employee handbook, I will include the mandatory FMLA language. However, I would like some input on what type of policy, if any, to include for non-FMLA eligible employees.

The cure for FMLA pains ... a Cancun vacation?

07/08/2011
Ever wonder if your employees out on FMLA leave are really sitting on a beach sipping a drink with a little umbrella in it? If you think employees are violating your policies, what can you do? One court ruled last month that you can fire such an employee ... but first make sure you have the right policies in place.

How to manage 'job creep' in today's jobless recovery

06/30/2011
More than half of all employees have taken on new roles during the eco­nomic downturn, according to a recent Spherion Staffing survey. That’s “job creep,” and it’s a big problem. Job creep has important employment law implications and it also means many of your job ­descriptions are probably outdated.
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