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When You Don't Train Your Managers About the FMLA, You're Begging for This Kind of Smackdown

When a manager learns that one of his employees is in the hospital, that’s almost always enough information for the employer to have an inkling that the employee may need FMLA leave. ...more

If an Employee Attends a Beyonce Concert While on FMLA Leave, Can She Be Terminated?

All the single ladies . . . all the single ladies . . . Now put your hands up, oh, oh, oh . . . Imagine marketing director, Michelle, jamming to this Beyonce song in the middle of AT&T Stadium in Dallas. On that very...more

Got an Employee Who Doesn't Follow Your FMLA Call-in Policy? Apparently, You Now Have to Ask Him Why He Couldn't

I recently had an interesting call with a DOL investigator, and I wanted to share it with you. First, let me set the background. I represent a large national employer with multi-state locations, including several on...more

Disclosing an Employee's Medical Condition May Result in an Automatic FMLA Violation

This is a story about Scott. He has a medical condition affecting his genito-urinary system. In the words of my two-year old, Maggie, this condition sounds yucky. Like other employees with a genito-urinary disorder,...more

Sweet Justice! Dismissal of Bully's FMLA Claim Proves Employers Can Safely Terminate an Employee on the Heels of FMLA Leave

I hate bullies. Back in 4th grade, Sister Mary Demetria, OSF, told us that “hating” someone was a sin. I’m convinced Sister never met a bully. Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned. Cause, you see, whenever I...more

Note to Self: Posting My Beach Vacation Photos on Facebook During FMLA Leave is Not a Good Idea

I always love a good social media FMLA smack down. It’s even better when the employer handles the situation in textbook fashion. Today’s installment offers both, while also providing a road map for employers when...more

DOL Continues to Warn Employers of Investigation of Systemic FMLA Issues

Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of presenting on complex FMLA issues at the American Bar Association’s Annual Labor and Employment conference. During the session, entitled “The FMLA 20 Years Later,” we covered key FMLA...more

When a Manager Makes Even One Stupid Comment after an FMLA Request, the Employer Pays the Price

How would you like to work alongside Jim, who engages in the following behavior: He makes a habit of telling co-workers what they are doing wrong, using a degrading tone of voice, and instigates arguments when doing...more

Requiring an Employee to Return from FMLA Leave "Without Restrictions" or "Fully Healed" Is Playing with Fire

Do you know what happens when you maintain a policy or practice that requires an employee to return to work without restrictions or “100% healed”? You pay. A lot. Just ask Brookdale Senior Living Communities....more

Need To Investigate Employee Misconduct While the Employee is on FMLA Leave? Follow This Employer's Lead

Even once in awhile an employer has handled an FMLA situation so effectively, you just want to shout out, “You Go Girl!” . . . or let out a fist pump (like you just sank a 70-foot birdie) . . . or initiate a wild chest bump...more

How Fowl! Is An Employee's Text and His Girlfriend's Report Enough to Establish Notice of Need for FMLA Leave? Not So Fast...

This one just smells fowl. Delbert (not sure if he goes by Del or Bert, so I’ll just call him Delbert) decided not to show up for work at Tyson Fresh Meats on December 28. Instead, he asked his girlfriend, who also worked...more

Does FMLA Cover In Vitro Fertilization? Does It Matter if Dad's Sperm is to Blame?

Is that all it takes to get you to click on my blog entry — make a reference to “sperm” in the blog title and post a silly photo of this little guy?  That was like taking candy from a baby!...more

DOL Issues Final Rule Extending FMLA Leave Rights to Same-Sex Couples: Here's Everything Employers Need to Know

The Department of Labor has issued a final rule that will allow an employee to take FMLA leave to care for a same-sex spouse, regardless of whether the employee lives in a state that recognizes their marital status. This...more

Employer Fails to Provide Leave of Absence to Probationary Employee, Pays the Price

Adam was a maintenance technician for EZEFLOW, a company which manufactures pipe fittings.  He also was a marine corps veteran who served in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Upon his discharge from the marines, Adam started his...more

FMLA Leave for Headache Effectively Converts Full-Time Position into Part-Time Position; Employers' Shrieks Heard Across the...

This one is a real headache. Sam oversees a storage area for the Connecticut Department of Transportation (ConnDOT) and during certain times of the year, his position requires a fairly extensive amount of overtime. For...more

What Employers Can Learn from Physicians When It Comes to Administering the FMLA

Earlier this month, I took one for the team. And I survived. I had the privilege of presenting to a number of employers and health care providers at the annual “Impairment Without Disability” conference, an event...more

Don't Be Tripped Up by Light Duty Obligations under the FMLA and ADA: A Discussion of Employer Best Practices

Earlier this week, I had the privilege of presenting on the FMLA and ADA reasonable accommodations at CUPA-HR‘s annual conference with my friend, Stan Kulesa from The Standard....more

Are You a Co-Employer? FMLA Joint Employer Liability Can Be Deadly

To be covered by the FMLA, a private employer must employ at least 50 employees within a 75-mile area. If the employer doesn’t meet this threshold, it is not obligated to provide FMLA leave to its employees. However, an...more

FMLA FAQ: Can We Terminate an Employee for Working a Second Job While on FMLA Leave?

If the employer has a uniformly-applied policy governing outside or supplemental employment, such a policy may continue to apply to an employee while on FMLA leave. An employer which does not have such a policy may not deny...more

Employer Rejects Employee's Fitness for Duty Certification, Faces FMLA Liability

The story is for all you hunt and peck typists out there. But its message is a lesson for all employers when it comes to returning your employee from FMLA leave....more

A Game-Changing Decision? Sending FMLA Notices to Employees by U.S. Mail May Not Cut It Anymore

With all the FMLA paperwork that a leave administrator has to provide an employee during the FMLA process, you’d wonder whether you’re attending a real estate closing. All these documents — whether it’s the Notice of...more

Now This is a Headache! Employee Terminated for Migraine Headaches Can Advance FMLA Claim

In the cold, sadistic world that is the FMLA, the Department of Labor tells us that ordinary, run-of-the-mill headaches (a/k/a “non-migraine” headaches) are not covered by the FMLA. Migraine headaches, on the other hand, are...more

Dear Employers: We Have to Stop Sticking It to Pregnant Moms and Expectant Dads

A few employers apparently have made some rather foolish decisions lately when terminating the employment of an expectant parent, and it’s making the rest of us look like we don’t care much for moms and dads or, for that...more

New EEOC Guidance Expands Protections and Requires Accommodations for Pregnant Employees (and Reaffirms Rights for Dads, Too!)

Earlier this week, the EEOC issued new enforcement guidance on pregnancy discrimination, warning employers of their obligation to provide pregnant employees reasonable accommodations in the workplace and giving employers...more

Did a Court Just Allow an Employee FMLA Leave to Care for Her Grandchild?

Grandparents across America are celebrating this week. And they have Suzan Gienapp to thank. Here’s why: Suzan, who worked for Harbor Crest (a nursing home), informed her manager in January 2011 that she needed time off...more

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