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Shopping for FMLA certification doesn’t justify failing to call in absence

Employees may need some time off to get their FMLA serious-health-condition forms certified. But that doesn’t mean they can stop showing up for work and ignore company call-in requirements during that time.

Not sure employee is eligible for FMLA leave? Play it safe and assume she is

Once a supervisor or manager has reason to believe an employee may qualify for FMLA leave, the company is obligated to investigate. Ignoring that obligation can be a big mistake.

Employee calling in ‘sick’ doesn’t automatically trigger your FMLA obligations


Some employees believe all they have to do to invoke FMLA leave protection is to call in, say they’re “sick” and wait for their employer to request medical certification. Wrong! Merely calling in sick doesn’t trigger any employer obligations under the FMLA.

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.