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  • HR Specialist: Employment Law
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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.

Know the documentation rules and timetables for FMLA certification requests

You don’t have to take an em­­ployee’s word for his need for FMLA leave. In fact, it’s a good practice to always require a certification. Just make sure you understand the rules.

Frequent absences? Show when you decided to fire

If you’re ready to fire an employee for missing too much work, be sure to document the absences and pinpoint when you made the termination decision. Your records may come in handy if she sues and claims her leave was FMLA-protected.

Make sure employee is clear about your system for running and counting FMLA leave

Employers are free to run FMLA leave concurrently with other paid leave. Just make sure you tell employees exactly how you are accounting for their FMLA leave.

Understand the legal risks when employees telecommute from another state

Before approving an employee’s request to telecommute from her home in a different state, consider that you may have to follow a different set of employment laws. If she ends up suing your company, she may do so in the state where she performed her work.

Weigh ADA, FMLA when considering return to work following disability leave

Under the ADA, disabled em­­ployees may be entitled to disability leave beyond what’s available through the FMLA and other accrued leave like vacation and personal time. However, they may not be entitled to reinstatement to their prior position.

Document your efforts to collect FMLA certification info from employees


There’s a right way and a wrong way to terminate an employee who doesn’t return after her scheduled FMLA leave. The right way: Offer the employee every opportunity to ask for an extension—and document that you did so. The wrong way: Just fire her when she doesn’t show up on the day she was supposed to return.

Gender Discrimination


HR Law 101: Your supervisors probably understand that they can’t pay a male more than a female to perform the same job or dole out promotions only to males. What they may not appreciate are the more subtle forms that gender discrimination may take. They may not make an effort to scrutinize their decisions to uncover any entrenched patterns of discrimination and practices that discourage women from applying for promotions or asking for raises …