The position and salary are protected under FMLA laws, not job accomodations

by on March 16, 2009 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: HR Info Center

Returning employees get same pay and benefits under FMLA laws, not accommodations

An employee returns from FMLA leave with a doctor’s note saying she’s fit to work part time. You put her in a less physically demanding half-time position and keep her on reduced leave per FMLA laws.

But she insists she can work full-time if the company accommodates her. She wants her old job back and says she needs only a few inexpensive accommodations that won’t disrupt production.

Of course your company may want her to get back to her old job, but not necessarily. You may not want the potential liability; or maybe business is slow and you’d prefer she not return just yet. So it makes no business sense to spend money on special accommodations.

But what do FMLA laws say? Do you have to accommodate this employee?

Employer-friendly decision

No, according to a new case that involved Courtney G., a floor worker at athletic shoe manufacturer New Balance. A district court stated that despite her claim that she could perform a full day’s work in her former position if accommodated (after FMLA leave) Courtney’s only rights under FMLA laws, was to the same pay and benefits she received in her former position, not to provide accommodations.

Cite: Green v. New Balance Athletic Shoe, Inc., U.S. District Court, District of Maine, No. 01-CV-60-B-S. 1/29/02.

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