Curbing FMLA Abuse: Policies Restricting an Employee's Travel While on Paid Sick Leave

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So your employee recently posted photos of herself lounging poolside with margarita in hand while out on FMLA leave. Can you do something more than just compliment her nice tan?

Earlier this year, in the case of Pellegrino v. Communications Workers of America, a Pennsylvania federal court answered yes. The court upheld the termination of an employee for violating a work rule that restricted employee travel outside the immediate vicinity while on FMLA leave.

Under a policy in its employee handbook, CWA provided sick pay to eligible employees on approved medical leave. Such wage replacement, however, was subject to certain restrictions. Specifically, employees were required to remain in the immediate vicinity of their homes while on sick leave unless they were seeking treatment or attending to ordinary and necessary personal or family needs. Employees also were permitted to leave the immediate vicinity if they received express permission from CWA.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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