FMLA regulations only cover US-based employees and chiropractors in limited circumstances.
The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 is a pesky law with many unexpected twists and turns. Here are a some new FMLA guidelines from recent court decisions that may affect you:
· Chiropractors are approved providers only in limited circumstances.
· Employees based outside the country have no FMLA protection.
X-rays not taken
In one case, an employee hurt her back at work, left early and went to a chiropractor for a spinal adjustment. The employer fired her, claiming she clocked out fraudulently. The employee claimed she was fired for exercising FMLA benefits.
The court said the employee’s absence didn’t count as leave under FMLA guidelines. To show a serious health condition, she had to treat with an approved health care provider. Chiropractors are approved providers only when they use X-rays to find spinal problems and then treat them. This chiropractor took no X-rays.
No protection for expats
In the other case, an American expatriate based in Brazil flew home without permission and was later fired.
He claimed FMLA leave for depression and panic disorder, but the court pointed out that FMLA regulations only protect employees in the U.S.A. and its territories.
Cite: Silcox v. Via Christi Oklahoma Regional Med. Center, No. 05-6401, 10th Cir., 9/5/06; Freeman v. Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., No. 04-CV-0506, N.D. Okla., 8/17/06.
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