News & Analysis as of

Ninth Circuit Approves Employees' Right to Strategically Decline FMLA Leave In Escriba v. Foster Poultry Farms

Under the Ninth Circuit’s recent holding in Escriba v. Foster Poultry Farms, Inc., 743 F.3d 1236 (9th Cir. 2014), many employees now have greater flexibility to extend family and medical leave beyond the typical 12-week limit...more

Pregnancy and “Forced Sick Leave.” The Intersection of State and Federal Law, and What Is Permissible In the Connecticut Workplace

The situation that is at the epicenter of a recent controversy involving a Pier 1 employee, and a recent Connecticut federal court case, arises in the context of a pregnant employee being unable to carry out essential job...more

FMLA FAQ: Am I Required to Pay My Employee for Holidays Occurring During FMLA Leave?

There must be something in the water, but several clients have asked me this week whether they are required to pay an employee for the Memorial Day holiday even though the employee was out on FMLA leave. ...more

Employer's Failure to Provide Timely FMLA Paperwork Creates No Claim Absent Proof Employee Was Able to Work

Department of Labor regulations issued under the Family and Medical Leave Act require employers to provide FMLA eligibility and designation notices. Employers frequently fail to provide these notices, or provide them after...more

FMLA FAQ: Can An Employer Force An Employee On FMLA Leave When The Employee Wants To Continue To Work?

Q: This week, one of our employees professed her love to one of her co-workers (who is married) and announced to everyone that they had been dating. The problem is — it’s not true. ...more

Eleventh Circuit Rejects Employee's Request for FMLA Leave for Possible Health Conditions

The Family and Medical Leave Act provides eligible employees with up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave to deal with, among other things, a serious health condition. What happens, however, when the FMLA leave request is based...more

I Need a Vacation, Doctor’s Orders

Having a chronic serious health condition doesn’t entitle an employee to take leave whenever he chooses. Even if the leave would be medically beneficial, it has to correspond to a period of incapacity. In Hurley v. Kent of...more

Did You Know...Depression Does Not Automatically Qualify An Employee For FMLA Leave

In recent years, employers have been bombarded by increasing numbers of lawsuits by employees with mental disabilities alleging discrimination and retaliation. These lawsuits are based on a variety of theories including...more

Employees May Choose to Use Vacation Instead of FMLA or CFRA Leave for Medical Absences

The Ninth Circuit (California) held in Escriba v. Foster Poultry Farms, Inc. that an employee can choose to use vacation instead of leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) or California Family Rights Act...more

Fenwick Employment Brief - March 2014

In February, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed the Fair Chance Ordinance, which limits when and to what extent employers can inquire into the criminal history of applicants and employees. The ordinance also...more

Ninth Circuit Upholds Jury Verdict For Employer, Holding That Employee Affirmatively Declined to Take FMLA Leave

In Escriba v. Foster Poultry Farms, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld a jury verdict in favor of an employer on an employee’s Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) claims. The employer discharged Escriba...more

FMLA FAQ: Can An Employer Designate FMLA Leave When An Employee Refuses To Provide Medical Certification?

I received a ton of feedback last week in response to my post about whether an employee can decline FMLA leave even though the absence qualifies under the Act. One question, in particular, was thrown at me repeatedly, and it...more

Can An Employee Decline FMLA Leave Even Though The Absence Is Covered By The Act?

What do you do when one of your employees has informed you of what clearly is an FMLA-triggering event (she needs to care for her dad who is seriously ill in the hospital), but then tells you she doesn't want the absence...more

Employment Law Advisory for February 28, 2014: The EEOC's New Challenge to a 12 Month Maximum Medical Leave Policy

Human resource professionals know that administering leave policies and practices is one of the most difficult tasks for any employer. An employer’s obligations to provide reasonable accommodation to a disabled employee and...more

Regulating Intermittent FMLA Leave: May an Employer Request a Doctor’s Note for Each Intermittent FMLA Absence?

Intermittent leave under the Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) can pose a significant (and often frustrating) administrative and tracking burden on an employer. Further, when attempting to ferret out abuse, an employer has a...more

FMLA FAQ: Can General Aches And Pains Support The Need For FMLA Leave?

I just returned from Disney World, a trip that had me chasing my kids (ages 8, 6 and 4) for days on end. So, I'm tired. And I ache. My feet ache. My back aches from my four year old riding on my shoulders. My head aches...more

Flu Remedy: Can an Employee Get FMLA Leave for the Flu?

With flu season at its peak and certain strains of the flu requiring longer recovery periods, workplaces are experiencing a spike in the frequency and duration of flu-related absences. The Centers for Disease Control and...more

Employment and Labor Law Final Exam Answer Key

Thank you to everyone who responded to this year’s Employment and Labor Law Final Exam. We hope the exercise was challenging and informative. Congratulations to our winners, Melissa Nance (Sumter, SC) and Carol Williams...more

"Eating Turkey Made Me Fall Asleep And I Missed My Shift": How Employers Can Deal With The Most Outrageous Excuses For FMLA Leave

According to a recent CareerBuilder survey, nearly one-third (32 percent) of your employees have called in sick when they're not actually sick. Perhaps just as notable, 30 percent of your employees admit that they have...more

FAQ: What Employers Need To Know About Portland Paid Sick Leave

Beginning January 1, 2014, Portland, Oregon will require most employers to offer paid sick leave to their employees. The following list of Frequently Asked Questions will help employers get up to speed with the ordinance and...more

Top 25 FAQs Employers May Have About Implementing the New Portland Paid Sick Leave Ordinance in 2014

In March 2013, the Portland City Council passed the new Portland Paid Sick Leave Ordinance requiring all but the smallest employers to provide paid sick leave (“PSL”) for employees who work within city limits. On November 1,...more

Forced Leave – No Violation

An employer thought one particular employee was obviously unwell. The employer placed her on FMLA leave and required her to get certification of fitness to return to work. The first doctor released her to work. A second...more

Take 2: Does Annual FMLA Certification First Require An Employee's Absence?

The feedback from last week's blog post on annual FMLA certification came fast and furious. ...more

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