Tag Archives: FMLA

Do You Really Need to go to That Seminar?

Seminar
With only a few exceptions (e.g., harassment training in California), employment-related training is voluntary, not mandatory.  We all have so many demands on our time and not enough time in the day to meet them.  As an HR professional, sometimes the last thing you want to do is go to another seminar about harassment, or … Continue reading this entry

Summer (and with it, summer vacations) is coming!

Summer
As we head into the start of summer and employees begin to request more time off for vacation, this is a great time to review your vacation policies to ensure they are legally compliant and meet business needs. With the exception of certain state or local paid sick leave laws, employees generally do not have … Continue reading this entry

Intermittent FMLA Leave is So Easy to Administer. Yeah, Right!

FMLA
Block FMLA leave has its own challenges. But intermittent FMLA leave can be downright painful – including the fact that intermittent leave claims are the most common type of lawsuit under the FMLA. When employees need to take scheduled time off for an entire day, week, or even month, an employer has more notice and … Continue reading this entry

The Massachusetts Pregnant Workers Fairness Act Is Now In Effect: What Employers Need To Know

Family
On April 1, 2018, the Massachusetts Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (the Act) went into effect, creating several rights and protections for pregnant workers, as well as for workers who have conditions related to pregnancy.  The Act – which applies to employers with six or more employees – affirmatively establishes pregnancy as a protected class under … Continue reading this entry

Trump’s DOL Issues First Opinion Letters

Waivers
Back in January, we reported that the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) was reviving the agency’s practice of issuing opinion letters at the request of employers.  The WHD stopped the practice of issuing opinion letters under the Obama administration back in 2010.  After nearly a decade, the WHD finally issued new opinion … Continue reading this entry

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

FMLA
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

ADA
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

Reasonable
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

Leave
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

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

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

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

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

Federal Court Rules Temp-to-Hire Employee's Hours Before and After Hire Must be Counted in Determining FMLA Eligibility

The interplay between staffing agencies and client companies continues to be a common source of litigation, including an increase in cases under the Family and Medical Leave Act (the “FMLA”).   Following on the heels of a Fifth Circuit ruling clarifying the FMLA obligations allocated to each of the staffing agency and client company, an Oklahoma … 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

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