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FMLA

Caution government supervisors: You could be personally liable for FMLA violations

09/16/2010
Supervisors and managers who work for private employers have long been held personally liable for FMLA violations in which they participate. Now supervisors and managers who work for government agencies are also liable.

Durbin wants to codify FMLA’s redefinition of family

09/16/2010
U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) has introduced legislation to formally expand the definition of “family” under the FMLA to include “a same-sex spouse, domestic partner, parent-in-law, adult child, sibling or grandparent.”

Get ready for more changes as the DOL launches a study of how employees use the FMLA

09/14/2010
The Obama administration DOL has already implemented some FMLA regulatory changes, and a new study indicates that more changes may be on the way.

Sued for counting FMLA against fired worker? Prove you planned to discharge anyway

09/08/2010
If you’re deciding whether to fire an employee for attendance problems (under a no-fault attendance policy, for example), you must make sure you aren’t counting FMLA leave against her. However, all is not lost if you accidentally add in an FMLA absence—as long as you can show you still would have fired the employee because of other attendance problems.

Train supervisors on FMLA notice process

09/08/2010
Train supervisors and managers on situations that could trigger the FMLA leave determination process. The best approach is to suggest they notify HR if an employee calls in sick and implies anything more than “I’m sick today.” If the employee provides any detail that makes it seem likely he or a family member is suffering from a serious health condition, he should be referred to HR to determine if he’s eligible for FMLA leave.

Cut slack on notification requirement when emergency clearly signals FMLA need

09/08/2010
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.

What are the rules? I’m afraid we wrongly denied an employee’s FMLA leave request

09/03/2010
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?

How should we get medical information for certifying the need for FMLA leave?

09/03/2010
Q. Is there any help you can provide on how we should obtain medical information from employees taking FMLA leave?

Close scrutiny after FMLA leave can spell trouble

09/03/2010

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.

For hourly employees, unauthorized extra time counts toward FMLA eligibility

09/01/2010

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.