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  • HR Specialist: Employment Law
  • The HR Weekly


Make sure employees are clear about your system for counting FMLA leave

Your organization is free to run FMLA leave concurrently with other paid leave. To avoid a lawsuit, just make sure you tell employees exactly how you are accounting for their FMLA leave.

Must we indefinitely retain injured employee who has been out on workers’ comp?

Q. We have an employee who has been out with a work-related back injury for more than six months. We have not received any indication from her doctor about when she will be able to return. Must we keep her on workers’ compensation leave status indefinitely? Do we have to indefinitely hold open her job?

Remind bosses: Employees approved for intermittent FMLA leave are entitled to take it

Employees with chronic conditions may need time off, but can’t always plan those absences in advance. And that may mean understaffed positions on short notice. That’s unfortunate, but it’s something a good manager must work around—and something HR should monitor.

ADA: You may not have to honor employee’s request for gradual return to work


It may be a reasonable accommodation to grant additional time off after a disabled employee has used up her FMLA entitlement and other leave. But what if the disabled employee wants a gradual return to work, easing back in by working part time?

Light duty and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act

Sometimes, it may be appropriate to offer light-duty assignments to pregnant employees. However, there’s a right way and a wrong way to handle those accommodations.

Don’t let manager’s attitude taint new mom’s career

Some managers don’t think mothers-to-be are serious about their work. That attitude can spell trouble for an employee’s future opportunities in subtle ways. Don’t let it happen.

Firing during FMLA leave may mean personal liability

In a bizarre legal twist, the 5th Cir­­cuit Court of Appeals has ruled that a supervisor who was sued over his decision to terminate an employee for taking FMLA leave may be personally liable for terminating her—despite the fact that the public employer may be immune to an FMLA lawsuit.

How to dodge an FMLA bullet: Consider granting after-the-fact leave request


Sometimes, simple medical procedures turn out to be not so simple after all. A few days off for outpatient surgery may morph into a lengthy FMLA leave and render the employee disabled. Don’t jump the gun and terminate the employee without considering whether he’s now entitled to FMLA leave and reasonable accommodations.

You don’t need absolute proof to fire


Employees are entitled to fair treatment, but that doesn’t mean HR has to become a court of law and prove beyond a reasonable doubt that an employee did something deserving of discharge. As long as you reasonably believe an employee broke a rule or other­­wise did something deserving of discharge, a termination will stand up to a legal challenge.

Telling employee to reschedule her doctor appointment: Is that legal under the FMLA?

Taking time off for medical appointments is a legitimate use of FMLA leave if the treatment is related to an employee’s serious health condition. But that doesn’t mean em­­­ployees can schedule doctors’ appointments whenever they want.