Employee FMLA compliance means they don't have to be 100 percent certain

by on January 23, 2009 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: HR Info Center

FMLA guidelines give no employee time constraints on leave notice

Employees who tell you they may need FMLA leave, and give a good reason, are in FMLA compliance. The employees aren’t required to be absolutely certain leave will be needed.

Example: An employee was fired, ostensibly over performance, days after telling a manager that heart tests had found a condition that might require surgery.


When the employee filed an FMLA interference suit, the federal court ruled against him on grounds that he hadn’t filed a formal leave request. But a federal appeals court overturned the lower court’s decision. The appeals court said the notice provision of the FMLA encourages employees to do what this employee did – tell supervisors about a condition that might require leave. “Such openness maximizes employers’ opportunity to plan their staffing needs,” the court said.

Here, the employer knew the employee had chronic heart problems and had already missed six weeks of work for bypass surgery. When he told the employer of his continuing problems and possible need for further surgery, he gave adequate notice and was in FMLA compliance.

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