Tag Archives: FMLA

Happy 25th Birthday, FMLA! 25 Years Later – Where Are We Now?

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is celebrating its 25th anniversary this month. On February 5, 1993, President Bill Clinton signed the FMLA into law guaranteeing certain employees up to 12 unpaid weeks off of work a year to care for children or ill family members, or to recover from one’s own serious health … Continue reading this entry

Managing the Interplay Between the ADA, FMLA and WC

The following description may seem quite familiar to those who deal with employee issues on a daily basis. Your employee, who has a physically demanding job on the factory floor, has been out on leave for an injury that he contends is work-related. However, your worker’s compensation insurance carrier has recently denied coverage. Additionally, the … Continue reading this entry

Seventh Circuit Puts the Brakes on Never-ending Leave Under the ADA

Employers everywhere have been repeatedly warned not to automatically terminate employees who have exhausted their Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave. Instead, employers should first consider whether the employee might be entitled to some additional leave time as a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  But the key question for employers … Continue reading this entry

As If Leave Laws Aren’t Complicated Enough – Don’t Forget That Leave Can Be a Reasonable Accommodation

The myriad of leave laws and requirements often make employee leave requests an area of confusion, concern and risk for employers. If an employee has a medical condition and must take leave from their job, there may be several laws, benefits and policies that cover the situation.  Many employers are familiar with the Family and … 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

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

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

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

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

DOL Updates FMLA Guidance Recognizing Same-Sex Marriage

On August 9, 2013, U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez sent a department-wide email affirming the availability of spousal leave based on same-sex marriages under the FMLA. This move comes in the wake of the recent Supreme Court decision in United States v. Windsor, which struck down provisions of the Defense of Marriage … Continue reading this entry

Employer’s Honest Belief That Employee Could Not Perform Job Due to Medical Condition Justified Termination

An employer was justified in terminating an employee based on its honest belief that the employee could not perform his job due to his medical condition. In Degraw v. Exide Technologies (10th Circuit February 20, 2012), the employee worked as a material handler and had a history of back problems predating his employment. He took … Continue reading this entry

Timing Is Everything: FMLA Protection in the Face of Discharge

Scene: Employee has performance issues. Employee notifies his supervisor that he needs leave for a medical condition. Employee calls in sick for two consecutive days, a Thursday and Friday, and returns to work the following Monday. Upon return, the employee tells the supervisor that he will need additional days off and requests the FMLA application … Continue reading this entry

Rigid Leave Policies -- A Formula for Liability

Companies often maintain a policy that provides that employment will terminate if an employee fails to return from a medical leave of absence within a given period of time. Generally, those periods appear to be generous, sometimes as long as a year. Employers reason that the employee had enjoyed the full FMLA benefits (http://tinyurl.com/4xohaq9) and … Continue reading this entry

New California Leave Law for Organ and Bone Marrow Donations

Effective January 1, 2011, California employees may now take paid time off from work for the purpose of organ and bone marrow donations. Specifically, California SB 1304 requires that California employers with 15 or more employees provide their employees with up to 30 days of paid time off in any one-year period for the purpose … Continue reading this entry

Conducting Employee Surveillance to Curb FMLA Abuse

Effective administration of intermittent leaves is a major challenge for every employer covered by the FMLA. Employers are often frustrated by what appear to be patterns of FMLA abuse such as employees calling off of work on Fridays or Mondays. The FMLA regulations provide limited options to curb FMLA abuse such as allowing the employer … Continue reading this entry

When Does an Employer "Interfere" With an Employee's FMLA Rights?

A federal court in Washington, D.C. has highlighted the need for employers to ensure that they provide their employees with accurate information concerning their rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) if they are to avoid a claim of “interference” with those rights. The decision was issued on June 29, 2010. According to the Court, an … Continue reading this entry

"Son or Daughter" Under the FMLA Now Defined to Include Nontraditional Family Members

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) recently issued an interpretative guidance regarding the definition of son or daughter under the FMLA as it applies to an employee who is not the legal or biological parent of a child. The FMLA entitles an employee to 12 workweeks of leave for the birth or placement of a son … Continue reading this entry