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FMLA

Approved FMLA leave doesn’t mean worker is disabled

03/09/2012
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

03/09/2012
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

03/09/2012
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

03/09/2012
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.

Employees can’t hide behind FMLA to dodge legitimate discipline

03/08/2012
The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals has dismissed a lawsuit brought by a worker who claimed she was fired in retaliation for taking intermittent FMLA leave. The court ruled that she was fired for the most defensible of all reasons: She treated a customer badly.

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

03/05/2012
The FMLA provides leave for employees who need to care for seriously ill family members. Some employers argue that if several family members are providing care, they don’t have to approve FMLA leave if that means more than one family member would be present. That argument won’t fly.

Make sure employees understand the method you use to calculate FMLA leave

03/05/2012

Employers that don’t take the time and effort to understand the ins and outs of the FMLA do so at their peril. Courts are beginning to lose patience and have started assessing employers double damages for FMLA violations. Something as simple as not making sure employees understand what method you use to calculate FMLA leave entitlements can mean huge liabilities …

Know what qualifies as a legitimate reason to take FMLA leave

02/29/2012

Some employees think they’re entitled to FMLA leave for every sickness and family emergency. They’re wrong. You should only grant leave requests based on legitimate reasons and reject clearly frivolous ones.

Document why you denied FMLA leave request

02/24/2012

It may seem clear to you that an employee with a minor medical problem isn’t eligible for FMLA leave. But that doesn’t mean the em­ployee won’t sue if you turn down her leave request. That’s why you must be prepared to explain your decision.

For new mom with very ill baby, what are our FMLA and unemployment obligations?

02/22/2012
Q. A long-standing employee recently took FMLA leave to give birth, but her son has many medical complications. She exhausted her eligibility under our disability carrier and isn’t eligible for long-term disability because she herself is not disabled. We want her back, but she can’t commit to even 20 hours a week. What are our obligations under the FMLA, and would our employee be entitled to unemployment compensation if we terminate her?