• The HR Specialist - Print Newsletter
  • HR Specialist: Employment Law
  • The HR Weekly


Warn bosses: No griping about pregnancy-related absences


Some bosses openly resent it when subordinates announce that they’re pregnant. Warn them to never do or say anything that indicates anger, disappointment or annoyance.

OK to ask worker to cancel M.D. appointment; that isn’t the same as denying FMLA leave

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

Weigh ‘reasonableness’ when considering ADA time off after employee has taken FMLA leave

If you can show that the financial and logistical costs are unreasonably high, you don’t have to extend time off as an ADA reasonable accommodation.

Accommodation failing? Focus on performance

Employers must reasonably accommodate disabled workers so they can perform the essential functions of their jobs. But what should you do if you have made accommodations and they don’t seem to be working?

Does your employee discipline have to be identical?


Before your organization disciplines an employee, it’s always important to ask these questions: Have other employees violated the same policy? If so, what action did we take against that other em­­ployee? How similar are those two situations? One court recently said employers shouldn’t search for “identical” situations—“similar” is good enough.

Termination for legitimate business reason trumps FMLA

Employers can terminate an em­­ployee about to take FMLA leave if they have legitimate business reasons that have nothing to do with taking FMLA leave.

Does FMLA cover colds and flu? It’s not a question to sneeze at

When Congress drafted the FMLA more than 20 years ago, colds and the flu were frequently mentioned as examples of illnesses not meant to be covered. However, FMLA regulations do provide for exceptions if an employee’s influenza is particularly serious, involves complications or requires hospitalization or continued medical treatment.

Pregnancy Discrimination Act doesn’t require accommodation of pregnancy complications

The PDA outlaws treating pregnant women worse than employees who aren’t pregnant. However, it doesn’t require affirmative steps to help them deal with complications. Employers are complying with the law if they give pregnant women the same time off or temporary light work assignments they give other temporarily impaired workers.

Document efforts to get FMLA certification

There’s a right way and a wrong way to terminate an employee who isn’t returning from FMLA leave. The right way: Offer 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.

FMLA: Military Family Leave


HR Law 101: The National Defense Authorization Act of 2008 granted new leave rights to family members of men and women who serve in the military. Because the NDAA amended the FMLA, the changes apply only to employers with 50 or more employees.