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  • HR Specialist: Employment Law
  • The HR LAW Weekly
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Beware firing during employee’s FMLA leave

Generally, employers are free to punish or terminate workers even while on job-protected leave like FMLA if they discover during that time away that the employee wasn’t doing his job. But there’s a caveat. You must be able to show the court that you would have done the same thing if the employee hadn’t taken leave

When can FMLA be taken for care of sibling?

The FMLA typically allows eligible workers to take up to 12 weeks of job-protected unpaid leave to care for the serious illness of a son or daughter. But it’s not just biological or adoptive parents who can qualify.

No need to tell employee why she was fired

When terminating an employee, you don’t necessarily have to explain the exact reason for your decision. However, you must still document your rationale at the time you decide to fire. If the employee sues, a court will want to see when and why you arrived at the decision, all documented at the time.

Heed FMLA rules during weeks before Christmas, New Year’s Day

Dec. 24 and 31, while usually not official work holidays, fall on Fridays this year. To stretch it to a long holiday weekend and in recognition of employees’ hard work during trying times, many employers will close on these days. Other employers traditionally close during the holiday week. The Department of Labor warns that such closures can complicate your calculations of employees’ FMLA leave entitlements.

Firing during FMLA leave? Prove FMLA wasn’t reason

Employees cannot be fired for taking FMLA leave. If you must terminate someone who has taken FMLA leave, be prepared to show it had nothing to do with their leave-taking. Do that by contemporaneously documenting what led to the termination and when you made the decision to fire.

Document ADA requests to prove good faith

The ADA requires a disabled employee and her employer to have an interactive conversation to determine whether it’s possible to accommodate the disability and, if so, how. If the employee doesn’t participate in the interactive process, she won’t be able to sue successfully over a denied accommodation. That’s why it’s essential to document every interaction once you suspect an employee might be disabled.

Employees’ pandemic lawsuits continue to evolve

The mandatory vaccination cases aren’t going anywhere soon, as employers and the federal government are leaning on such policies. But two recent decisions also remind us that pandemic-related lawsuits come in many flavors.

Steer clear of questions about past drug use

Warn supervisors not to pry into employees’ medical histories, including past abuse of drugs or alcohol. Simply asking workers about a perceived previous drug problem could trigger a lawsuit.

Long covid could trigger FMLA, ADA liability

Employers need to be ready to respond to more requests for both FMLA intermittent leave and ADA accommodations.

Investigate before firing alleged FMLA ‘liar’

Generally, employers are allowed to fire employees they believe lied about their need for FMLA leave. But there is an important proviso: The employer must act in good faith, showing it conducted an investigation into whether the employee was entitled to leave or not.