Category Archives: Family and Medical Leave Act

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The Second City Adopts Paid Sick Leave Following Burgeoning National Trend

EEOC
Late last month, the Chicago City Council unanimously approved a new paid sick leave ordinance requiring virtually every employer in the city to provide at least some paid time off to employees for sick leave purposes. Cook County’s Board of Commissioners is expected to approve a similar ordinance later this year. Chicago is not forging … Continue reading this entry

Coming Soon to a Federal Contractor Near You: Paid Sick Leave

California Emloyers
On Labor Day, September 7, 2015, President Obama signed Executive Order 13706 – Establishing Paid Sick Leave for Federal Contractors. The Executive Order requires that certain federal contractors and subcontractors (the same ones subject to the increased minimum wage requirements that became effective last year), provide 1 hour of paid sick leave for every 30 … Continue reading this entry

Time To Stop And Actually Look At Your Bulletin Boards

Employer
When was the last time you stopped and looked – really, truly looked – at all of the workplace posters on your company’s bulletin boards? Many employers take the Ron Popeil philosophy of workplace posters and “set it, and forget it.” But failing to keep your workplace posters up to date can lead to unnecessary … Continue reading this entry

Seven Policy Provisions To Curb FMLA Abuse

Most employers are aware of, and comply with, the requirement to include information about employees’ rights and obligations under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) in employee handbooks or other written policy documents. However, employers often fail to take advantage of the opportunity to use written FMLA policies as a way to combat FMLA … Continue reading this entry

Tips for Avoiding “Convincing Mosaic” of Discrimination

Discrimination
After retaining an employee through two year-long tours of duty in the Middle East and countless military drills amounting to 900 total days of absence, allowing the employee to modify her schedule to account for her military leave, and providing several accommodations when the employee returned from war diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, you might … Continue reading this entry

Avoiding FMLA Interference Claims: Walking a Fine Line Between Permissible and Impermissible Comments

When it comes to Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave, not all comments are treated equally. Some comments may discourage an employee from using FMLA leave, thereby interfering with the employee’s FMLA rights and creating employer liability. In contrast, other comments from supervisors may be viewed as completely permissible requests and do not violate … Continue reading this entry

FMLA Eligible or Not Eligible … That Is the Question

The easiest part of handling a Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) situation is determining at the outset whether the employee is eligible for FMLA protections, right? Not so fast. Recent cases have added the seemingly simple eligibility determination to the rotisserie of FMLA issues on which employees may baste employers. An employee is eligible … Continue reading this entry

New FMLA Forms Are Here Just in Time for Summer!

You can sleep a little easier tonight — you no longer have to worry about using expired Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) forms. On May 27, 2015, the United States Department of Labor (DOL) quietly updated its FMLA forms with a new expiration date of May 31, 2018. In addition to the … Continue reading this entry

”Smoking Gun” Comments Serve as an Important Reminder of the ADA’s Protection Against Associational Discrimination

Most employers are well aware that the Americans with Disabilities Act(ADA) protects qualified individuals with disabilities against discrimination on the basis of disability and requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities, if those accommodations do not pose an undue hardship for the employer. However, a recent court decision reminds employers that even individuals … Continue reading this entry

Department of Labor Announces Expansion of FMLA Rights to Same-Sex Couples

The United States Department of Labor issued a groundbreaking rule change last week, granting couples in legal, same-sex marriages the same rights as those in opposite-sex marriages under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The FMLA, which was enacted in 1993, allows eligible employees to take unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons, … Continue reading this entry

Employee Handbook Mistakes Can Come Back to Bite Employers

Employer
Courts often conclude that absent appropriate disclaimer language, statements in employee handbooks are “promises” to employees, binding employers to abide by these promises in their dealings with employees. However, a recent case provides an important reminder to employers that what they say, as well as what they do not say, in their employee handbooks can … Continue reading this entry

When Conflicting Obligations Make You Sick: Complying With Sick Leave Laws

Employer
While President Obama’s recent push for a federal paid sick leave mandate for private-sector employees is unlikely to gain traction in the new Congress, employers still begin 2015 facing an intricate web of state and local sick leave laws that are apt to cause employers headaches and confusion. As we have noted previously, sick leave laws … Continue reading this entry

Multiple Requests for Extension of Medical Leave – Three Strikes and the Employee Is Not Out!

A recent Americans with Disabilities Act case is a reminder the employers must proceed carefully before denying repeated requests for extensions of medical leave by an employee. In the case, the employer had a “personal leave” policy that allowed for up to two additional 30-day leaves of absence after Family and Medical Leave Act leave … Continue reading this entry

ERISA’s “Overlapping Fields of Fire” Preempt Wisconsin’s Family and Medical Leave Act

Wisconsin’s Family and Medical Leave Act (“WFMLA”), requires that employers allow employees six weeks of unpaid leave following “[t]he birth of an employee’s natural child,” and that employers allow an employee to substitute “paid or unpaid leave of any other type provided by the employer” for the unpaid leave provided by the law. However, in … Continue reading this entry

FMLA Stands for "Family and Medical Leave Avalanche"

We noted last year that 20 years after the original passage of the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”), the Department of Labor issued a survey report lauding the effectiveness of the law and the positive impact it has had on the American workforce. One of the most interesting points from that survey report was the assertion … Continue reading this entry

EEOC Effectively Declares Pregnancy a "Disability" Requiring Reasonable Accommodation — Even When the Pregnant Employee Is Not Disabled

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has recently declared that pregnancy alone, even without other underlying medical conditions, may require employer accommodations according to recent guidance released July 14, 2014. In a controversial decision splitting the commissioners 3-2, the EEOC broadcast a specific focus on pregnancy-related discrimination due to a continued uptick in charges and complaints over … Continue reading this entry

New Definition of “Spouse” would Expand FMLA Benefits to More Same-Sex Married Couples

Two weeks ago, the Secretary of Labor announced a proposed rule that would extend the benefits and protections of the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) to employees in same-sex marriages, regardless of where they live. Currently, only spouses in a same-sex marriage who live in a state that recognizes same-sex marriage are entitled to … Continue reading this entry

“No Harm, No Foul” and the FMLA Still Means “Be Diligent”

We routinely remind employers about the importance of dotting every “I” and crossing every “T” with their Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) paperwork because, if they do not, employees can attempt to make a mess over technically deficient eligibility and designation notice arrivals and try to assert liability claims in litigation over such technical … Continue reading this entry

It’s Catching: Is the Spread of Paid Sick Leave Laws Making Employers Ill?

As winter has turned to spring, and flu season has turned to allergy season, have your employees been accruing government-mandated paid sick leave? They might be if they happen to work in New York City (NYC), Newark, or Connecticut or other localities where employers are increasingly being required to provide paid sick leave to employees. … Continue reading this entry

Using “Light Duty” Lightly – and Properly

Employers often use the term “light duty” in a variety of employment contexts from job creation for occupationally injured employees to job duty modification to accommodate employee medical restrictions. However, employers should exercise care in their policies and practices regarding light duty jobs or assignments. Otherwise, they may find themselves unintentionally establishing unfavorable precedent for … Continue reading this entry

Employers: Limit FMLA Liability by Making Them Pick Only One From the Menu

A recent federal appellate court decision illustrates how employees may limit their rights by affirmatively choosing to designate time-off as vacation time rather than as leave protected by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). In the recent case, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld a jury’s verdict in favor … Continue reading this entry

FMLA and ADA: The Brad and Angelina of Employment Law

An employee comes to your human resources department to request Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) leave for an upcoming surgery to address his longstanding back pain, which has caused him increasing difficulties at work. You determine that the employee is eligible for FMLA leave – he worked at least 1,250 hours over the past … Continue reading this entry

Fifth Circuit Clarifies FMLA Obligations Relating to Staffing Agency Employees

Companies use temporary or leased employees for many reasons—to assist with seasonal work or temporary projects, to afford flexibility with a workload that might vary by customer demands, and sometimes in an effort to avoid responsibilities or liability that might result from an employment relationship.  This strategy can be effective in some—but not all—situations.  While … Continue reading this entry

Tackling FMLA Abuse – Recent Decision Offers Textbook Guidance

You’ve seen the pattern before – suspicious use of intermittent leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) – Fridays and Mondays, leave taken around holidays, and leave taken in connection with already approved vacation. What is the best way to determine whether the employee is actually using FMLA for its intended purpose? A … Continue reading this entry