Consider FMLA compliance guidelines before employee FMLA leave.

by on February 2, 2009 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: HR Info Center

Consider list of FMLA guidelines between you and the employee before they walk out the door

You know that many FMLA compliance lawsuits occur when employees fail to follow requirements. Even if companies win, it’s usually not until after a distracting and expensive hassle.

That’s why you may want to consider the following action step to head off FMLA misunderstandings (and lawsuits).

Offer employees who request leave a brief tutorial and a written checklist for FMLA compliance. Using that checklist, employees can track and ensure their own compliance before they begin their leave.

That step may have prevented this lawsuit: An assistant manager needed carpal tunnel syndrome surgery. When she requested FMLA leave she was told to provide medical certification from her physician before the leave would be approved. She was given three weeks to provide the certification.

The employer received no certification, extended the deadline and wrote the manager two letters asking for certification.

But the certification never arrived. The manager assumed her doctor would get around to it, but he didn’t. And she never took personal responsibility for the task. The manager took her leave but was out of FMLA compliance.

After 30 days, when the employer’s medical leave policy was exhausted, she was terminated.

Next, she filed an FMLA lawsuit against the employer. But a court handed a victory to the employer who, it ruled, had complied with the law.

Cite: Urban v. Dollar General, No. 03-11276, 5th Cir., 12/8/04.

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