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FMLA

DOL opinion letter on FMLA timing muddies the waters

05/06/2019
Employers must run FMLA leave concurrently with any paid leave an employee takes for an FMLA-qualifying condition, according to a new opinion letter from the U.S. Department of Labor.

Disabled or not, you’re justified to call regular attendance an essential job function

05/06/2019
Disabled employees are entitled to reasonable accommodations for their disabilities if those accommodations allow them to perform the essential functions of their jobs. But smart employers make it clear that, generally speaking, regular attendance is both expected and essential to the job.

What is the latest information on running FMLA leave concurrently with other leave?

04/30/2019
Q. We don’t have a policy on using FMLA leave concurrently with other leave. Therefore, sometimes employees will ask to use up their paid leave first and then use unpaid FMLA leave. This seems to occur most often with maternity leave, as some new mothers like to have extra time off. Of course, we know about the need for FMLA leave since we know the employee is pregnant. We’ve heard that the DOL now requires us to run leave concurrently. Is this true?

Beware presumptions about alcoholism

04/24/2019
Alcoholism may be an FMLA-covered serious health condition. If an employee returns to work after taking FMLA leave to rehab from a drinking problem, warn supervisors to check their presumptions about alcoholism. Doing or saying the wrong thing could violate the FMLA, the ADA or both.

Yes, you can terminate during FMLA leave

04/18/2019
You may find that some employees who suspect they are about to be disciplined suddenly ask for FMLA leave. They may cynically believe that taking FMLA leave protects them from discharge. It doesn’t.

Never deny benefits because of prior FMLA leave

04/16/2019
An employer who didn’t provide paid leave because of past absenteeism now faces a retaliation lawsuit.

Know when more ‘ADA leave’ is unreasonable

04/16/2019
Time off can be a reasonable ADA accommodation. But it’s not reasonable to grant leave if it won’t help the worker return to work on a regular basis, when her presence is essential.

Beware close timing between FMLA leave and discipline

04/15/2019
The closer a termination comes to the end of a worker’s FMLA leave, the more likely she may win an FMLA-retaliation lawsuit.

How much leave do we have to grant for bone marrow donation? Must it be paid leave?

04/10/2019
Q. One of my employees plans to donate bone marrow. She will need to take time off for this purpose. How much time can she take off? Must it be paid, even though the decision to donate was not due to her own medical condition?

Beware firing after employee has asked for FMLA leave

04/02/2019
Terminating an employee for absenteeism after she’s requested FMLA leave is likely to trigger a lawsuit.