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Beware sudden criticism after FMLA request

Here’s something to watch out for when approving a supervisor’s recommendation to discipline or discharge an employee. If the employee has requested FMLA leave and was previously performing well, be suspicious of claims she’s now performing poorly.

Employee out of FMLA leave and unable to do the job? It’s time to consider termination


You probably know that when a disabled employee has used up all his FMLA leave entitlement, he may still be entitled to reasonable accommodations under the ADA. It’s legitimate to offer additional leave as a reasonable accommodation. However, at some point, time off can be a burden for employers, especially when the employee can’t estimate when he will be ready to return. In that case, it may be time to terminate the employee.

Must we allow vacation leave accrual while employees are out on FMLA leave?

Q. I’m under the impression that our company is obligated to give employees all vacation accrued up to the time of their FMLA leave, but we’re not obligated to let employees accrue vacation leave during their FMLA leave. Am I right?

Can employees dodge discipline by hiding behind FMLA?

Beware employees who fear they’re about to be disciplined or fired! They’re among the most likely to launch a pre-emptive lawsuit. Conventional wisdom says you should call that bluff. But what if the claim involves the FMLA?

Exclude FMLA leave from attendance discipline


Here’s a basic way to avoid FMLA trouble: Before punishing an employee for poor attendance, double-check whether any of the time she’s missed was for FMLA leave. That way, there’s no question about whether FMLA leave was a factor in discipline.

FMLA: It’s not your job to decide whether relative needs your employee’s help

The FMLA does not give employers the right to decide that an employee’s sick relative has enough assistance and doesn’t need your employee’s help. That argument won’t fly—from a compassion or legal perspective.

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.