Archives: FMLA

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Flesh Eating Bacteria Ate My Homework

If you’re like most folks, you’ve been wondering “when am I going to see a story mentioning both flesh eating bacteria and reasonable accommodation.” Wonder no more. Gary Brunckhorst worked for the City of Oak Park Heights Minnesota for more than fifteen years. In April 2014, he was serving as the Senior Accountant/Payroll Technician (Senior … Continue Reading

What Did She Say? Dispute Over Content of Voicemails Requires Jury Trial on FMLA Claims

An employee seeking the protection of FMLA leave must give adequate and timely notice of the need for leave.  In situations where the leave is due to a qualifying reason for which the employer previously provided the employee FMLA leave, the employee must specifically reference either the qualifying reason for leave or the need for … Continue Reading

How the Government Shutdown Impacts Employee Leave Requests

As of midnight December 21, 2018, 380,000 federal employees were placed on furlough.  An additional 420,000 are considered “excepted” and have continued working without pay.  Federal employers and employees should be aware of how the government shutdown impacts both paid time off requests as well as approved FMLA leaves. According to the Office of Personnel … Continue Reading

What Do You Mean I Can’t Require that an Employee Use PTO During FMLA Leave?

Since the FMLA came into existence, employers have been advised, where possible, to run FMLA concurrently with other leaves. Doing so prevents leave stacking. When reviewing FMLA policies, a common oversight we see is how employers handle the use of paid leave during FMLA. While the policies require employees to use earned vacation, sick or … Continue Reading

Expanded Paid Family Leave Benefits Coming to California Employees

Under the Family Medical Leave Act, eligible employees are entitled to take time off for due to a “qualifying exigency” arising from the deployment of the employee’s spouse, parent, or child for active military duty to a foreign country. Examples of “qualifying exigencies” include attendance at military events, making childcare arrangements arising from a military … Continue Reading

FMLA Leave for Chronic Health Conditions Requires Proof of Periodic Doctor’s Visits

When an employee takes medical leave, treatment by a healthcare provider is often assumed, and the frequency of doctor’s visits is rarely scrutinized.  The Pennsylvania federal court’s recent decision in Watkins v. Blind and Vision Rehabilitation Services of Pittsburgh alerts us that this is not always a wise approach. In evaluating FMLA leave entitlements, verifying … Continue Reading

Another Court Decides That Extended Leave is Not a Reasonable Accommodation

As employers struggle with managing how much, if any, leave is required as an accommodation under the ADA, we are beginning to get more direction from the Courts to guide those decisions. In Easter v. Arkansas Children’s Hospital (E.D. Ark. Oct. 3, 2018) an employee was unable to work after exhausting her FMLA leave but … Continue Reading

What Am I Doing Wrong?? Common FMLA Mistakes

“What did I do wrong?” and “Am I doing this correctly?” are frequent questions from clients regarding FMLA administration. This is the seventeenth in a series highlighting some of the more common mistakes employers can inadvertently make regarding FMLA administration. Being unaware of new FMLA interpretations from the U.S. Department of Labor. While the current … Continue Reading

The Devil Is in the Detail – FMLA Eligibility and Remote Workers

With the increasing trend of telecommuting employees, it is not uncommon for a company to have small numbers of employees working from remote locations in various states. It is important that employers understand how FMLA eligibility is determined for remote workers.   Some incorrectly believe that a work-at-home employee cannot qualify for FMLA if the home … Continue Reading

What Am I Doing Wrong?? Common FMLA Mistakes

“What did I do wrong?” and “Am I doing this correctly?” are frequent questions from clients regarding FMLA administration. This is the sixteenth in a series highlighting some of the more common mistakes employers can inadvertently make regarding FMLA administration. Not requiring an employee to follow customary call-in procedures for FMLA leave. When the need … Continue Reading

What Am I Doing Wrong?? Common FMLA Mistakes.

“What did I do wrong?” and “Am I doing this correctly?” are frequent questions from clients regarding FMLA administration. This is the fifteenth in a series highlighting some of the more common mistakes employers can inadvertently make regarding FMLA administration. Not properly communicating with an employee who is about to exhaust the 12 week leave … Continue Reading

IRS Issues Guidance FAQs Regarding the Paid Family Leave Federal Tax Credit

This week, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued FAQ guidance regarding the employer tax credit for paid family and medical leave. As a reminder, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (the Act) provides a tax credit to employers that voluntarily offer paid family and/or medical leave to employees. The FAQs clarify some of … Continue Reading

Are You Preparing for Washington Paid Family and Medical Leave?

By the end of this year, employers with employees in the state of Washington must be ready to comply with last summer’s newly-enacted a paid family and medical leave law. Since the law’s passage, Washington has been busy fine-tuning the program and providing updates. Recently, Washington announced that employers with employees in the state of … Continue Reading

Must an Employer Pay for Frequent FMLA Breaks?

Is it compensable time when an employee takes frequent, 15-minute breaks each hour due to the employee’s serious health condition? Today, the United States Department of Labor (DOL) answered this question in a hot-off-the-press opinion letter, verifying that FMLA-covered breaks are not compensable. In today’s opinion letter, the DOL confirmed that frequent, 15-minute breaks taken … Continue Reading

FMLA And ADA Claims Put To Bed Where Employer Did Not Know Employee Had Sleep Apnea At The Time Her Employment Was Terminated.

Sometimes what you don’t know can help you. In Guzman v. Brown County, a 911 Dispatcher who was fired after being late repeatedly had her FMLA interference and retaliation claims sent to dreamland by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. The Appeals court held that the moribund claim should stay that way because the Dispatcher … Continue Reading

What Am I Doing Wrong?? Common FMLA Mistakes

“What did I do wrong?” and “Am I doing this correctly?” are frequent questions from clients regarding FMLA administration. This is the thirteenth in a series highlighting some of the more common mistakes employers can inadvertently make regarding FMLA administration. Not properly issuing an employee the FMLA Designation Notice. Employers must designate leave as FMLA-qualifying, … Continue Reading

What Am I Doing Wrong?? Common FMLA Mistakes

“What did I do wrong?” and “Am I doing this correctly?” are frequent questions from clients regarding FMLA administration.  This is the twelfth in a series highlighting some of the more common mistakes employers can inadvertently make regarding FMLA administration. Not adequately investigating a potential FMLA abuse situation to put the employer in a stronger … Continue Reading

Extending Leave Was Not A Reasonable Accommodation Under The ADA Where There Was A Lack Of “Certainty” About Return To Work Date

While employers generally accept that they cannot apply a maximum leave period after which employees are automatically terminated, they continue to struggle with how much leave must be provided as a form of accommodation under the ADA.  There is little dispute that leave for an indefinite period where the employee has a long term chronic … Continue Reading

Prior Entitlement to FMLA Leave Is Not A Free Ticket To Miss Work For Non-FMLA Covered Reasons

The U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania recently upheld an employer’s decision to terminate an employee under its policy against excessive absenteeism, in spite of the fact that the former employee had previously taken leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”), because the absences at issue were not related to … Continue Reading

Timing Is Everything: FMLA Claim Survives Summary Judgment Where Employer Began Auditing Employee’s Records The Day After FMLA Leave Request

Employees requesting, currently taking, or just returning from leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) can be terminated for legitimate reasons that are unrelated to their FMLA leave. This point is exemplified by Jennings v. Univ. of N.C., N.C. Ct. App., Case No. COA16-1031 (July 5, 2017), which was the subject of a … Continue Reading

What Am I Doing Wrong?? Common FMLA Mistakes

“What did I do wrong?” and “Am I doing this correctly?” are frequent questions from clients regarding FMLA administration. This is the eleventh in a series highlighting some of the more common mistakes employers can inadvertently make regarding FMLA administration. Not properly considering when a medical recertification can, and should, be requested when an employee … Continue Reading

New Mexico Court Rules Employee Is Entitled To Nationwide Discovery in FMLA Case

On October 10, 2017, Judge Ritter issued the Memorandum Opinion and Order which granted a former employee’s Motion to Compel and held that the former employee was entitled to information from the company’s nationwide offices relating to other employees fired under the company’s 100% healed policy and other FMLA or ADA complaints. Matthew Donlin (“Donlin”) worked as a general manager … Continue Reading

Can I Get Some Clarification on That Certification? Maybe Not … Differences Between FMLA and CFRA

Under the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”), an employer is permitted to contact an employee’s healthcare provider, with the employee’s permission, to clarify a medical certification submitted in support of the employee’s request for a leave of absence. Under the FMLA, “clarify” means to understand the handwriting on the certification or the meaning of … Continue Reading
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