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FMLA

What should we do if we suspect employee is engaged in workers’ comp fraud?

05/24/2012

Q. While on unpaid leave, one of our employees applied for and was granted workers’ compensation. This person has not expressed any interest in returning to work. We think she may even be working somewhere else. Can we terminate her?

How to prevent leave double-dipping: Prohibit vacation travel during paid FMLA leave

05/24/2012

It’s perfectly legitimate to prohibit recreational travel during any approved, paid sick leave. If you also happen to substitute paid sick leave for unpaid FMLA leave, you can still enforce the same no-vacations policy.

Attendance discipline: Keep FMLA out of equation

05/23/2012

Here’s a basic way to avoid FMLA trouble: Before punishing employees for poor attendance, double-check to make sure that none of the time they missed included FMLA-qualifying leave. That way, there’s no question about whether FMLA leave was a factor in discipline.

You can discharge during FMLA leave–under the right circumstances

05/16/2012
An employer that can show it would have terminated an employee for lack of work or another business reason can do so during FMLA leave. However, it must be able to offer clear, documented proof showing the move wasn’t related to the leave.

Remind supervisors to err on the side of caution when employee claims medical emergency

05/10/2012
When supervisors act out of anger or ignorance, the result is seldom good.

Suspect relative’s illness is used to game FMLA? If true, you’re free to discipline or terminate

05/10/2012

The FMLA allows employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for a parent with a serious health condition. But it’s not unheard of for employees to take advantage of the FMLA by getting time off, but then not spend it caring for mom or dad. If you learn that your employee is cheating the system, feel free to discipline him.

How to handle partial-day absences under FMLA

05/10/2012
Sometimes, an employee needs just a few hours of FMLA leave, for example, to make a doctor’s appointment or to drive a relative to treatment. The employee may find it more convenient to take the entire day off, but you don’t have to allow it. Should the employee not return after the appointment, you are free to treat the absence as unauthorized.

Document business reasons for job decisions

05/09/2012

Courts seldom second-guess employers for making tough economic decisions, as long as it’s obvious those decisions were made honestly and not as a cover for discrimination. Make that clear by documenting the decisions at the time you make them.

Know employee’s diagnosis? Don’t assume FMLA

05/09/2012
If all an employee does is tell you about the diagnosis of her medical condition, that’s not enough to trigger her FMLA rights. For example, the employee can’t just state that she’s been diagnosed with depression and then, the next time she misses work, expect the time off to be automatically considered FMLA leave.

Employee returning from FMLA leave? OK to assign her to different, equivalent job

05/04/2012

Some employees mistakenly believe that when they take FMLA leave, they are guaranteed an unchanged job when they return. That’s not true. What the FMLA promises is that employees who take protected leave will be returned to the same or an equivalent job.