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


Warn bosses: Your snarky email could cost us a lawsuit


It used to be that managers picked up the phone when seeking HR’s input on how to handle an employee problem. These days, they send an email. That can spell big trouble. Email, unlike a phone conversation, leaves a perfect record of what transpired. And courts don’t hesitate to use email as evidence.

Taking part-time job during medical leave isn’t misconduct


Employees out on disability or FMLA leave sometimes need to supplement their incomes. Taking a part-time job within medical restrictions is one solution. That may seem disloyal. But firing the employee will probably make her eligible for unemployment benefits.

OK to ask about employee’s ability to do job after returning from FMLA leave

Some employees aren’t able to perform their jobs after returning from FMLA leave. Employers can certainly raise the issue with the employee and can even terminate the employee if she can’t do her old job.

Which of these HR issues causes the biggest problems in your organization?

The day-to-day squabbles of the working world cause the biggest problems for most HR pros.

When worker returns from FMLA leave, it’s OK to assign equivalent job at different location


Employees who take FMLA leave are entitled to return to their job or to an equivalent one. If the FMLA absence necessitated hiring a replacement, there’s no obligation to remove or transfer the new hire—as long as the returning employee receives an equivalent position. That position can even include a transfer to a different location …

FMLA: Worker may be protected even before she’s eligible

We all know new employees aren’t covered by the FMLA until they’ve worked the required 1,250 hours in the past 12 months. But one court recently ruled that pre-eligible employees may be protected in certain cases. Exactly what are they?

Approved FMLA leave doesn’t mean worker is disabled

Just because someone has a serious health condition that qualifies for FMLA leave, it doesn’t always mean the condition is a disability. And merely approving someone’s FMLA request isn’t the same as admitting the employee is disabled.

Tell supervisors: Brief contact is OK, but never badger employee out on FMLA leave

Sometimes, you have no choice but to contact an employee during FMLA leave—for example, if someone can’t find a file or needs a password to access records. But don’t let supervisors make unreasonable demands or insist that the employee actually work.

FMLA rules as thick as a phone book? Be prepared for FMLA interference lawsuit

Don’t do anything that makes it harder for employees to use FMLA leave. “Creative” rules that end up discouraging legitimate FMLA use or punishing those who take FMLA leave are bound to cause trouble, as one large company facing multiple lawsuits has discovered.

Be flexible on deadlines after FMLA leave

When employees take FMLA leave (or other time off related to a disability), make sure you adjust any work deadlines. Otherwise, you risk a retaliation claim.