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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

Employers Must Have Duties Based Reasons to Support the Assertion that Full-Time Attendance Is an Essential Job Function

Teenagers are not the only ones dissatisfied when their pleas of “why” are met with a “because I said so.” It turns out that courts of appeal do not care for it either. Careful readers of this space know that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) may require employers to allow modified work schedules when … Continue Reading

You Can’t Always Get What You Want: Employers Don’t Have to Provide an Accommodation Requested by an Employee if There Are Other Reasonable Alternatives

A recent Third Circuit case, Sessoms v. Trs. Of the Univ. of Pa., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 16611 (3rd Cir. June 20, 2018), serves as a reminder that while the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to disabled employees, it does not obligate an employer to provide the accommodation requested … Continue Reading

District Courts in the Seventh Circuit Begin to Clarify Landmark Severson Decision

As we have previously reported, on September 20, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit issued a significant ruling for employers in Severson v. Heartland Woodcraft, Inc., 872 F.3d 476 (7th Cir. 2017), when it held that an multi-month, non-FMLA leave of absence is not a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with … 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

Supreme Court Declines Review of ADA Leave Obligations

Sometimes the actions a court doesn’t take can have a very big impact. The Supreme Court’s April 2, 2018 decision not to review a recent Seventh Circuit ruling is just one of the cases. In Severson v. Heartland Woodcraft, Inc., a widely-publicized decision relating to the availability of extended leave as a reasonable accommodation under … Continue Reading

Donations Not Accepted – ADA Does Not Require Continued Use of Leave Donation Program

Many employers have programs allowing employees to donate their own time off to another employee with serious medical or family issues.  A dilemma often faced by employers with these policies is whether continued use of such donated time means the employee is not performing the essential function of attendance.  On the one hand, the employee … Continue Reading

Louisiana Court of Appeals Highlights the Need For Clear Vacation Policies

The Louisiana Court of Appeals—Fourth Circuit, recently overturned a trial court’s determination that an employee of a pest control company was not entitled to the payout of his accrued, but unused, vacation leave. Contrary to the findings of the trial court, the Court found that the terms of the policy were ambiguous and therefore, the … Continue Reading

Are you covered by the Federal Paid Sick Leave Law for Federal Contractors?

As paid sick leave laws continue to pass across the nation, as recently seen in Austin, Texas, employers have focused on complying with the various state and local jurisdictions’ paid sick leave requirements . However, employers may forget, or might have to totally missed, that there is a federal paid sick leave law. Executive Order … Continue Reading

Could Your Parental Leave Policy Be Considered Sex Discrimination?

With the increase in the number of states that require various types of paid leave, now is a good time to examine your leave policies.  While often overlooked, one policy that could expose an employer to liability is its maternity leave or parental leave policy.   As the EEOC’s Guidance on Pregnancy Discrimination and Related Issues … Continue Reading

New York Paid Family Leave – One Month Check Up

The New York Paid Family Leave (NY PFL) law has been in effect for over a month, yet reports indicate that many New York employers are not prepared for the operation requirements of the law. The basics of the law shouldn’t be news to employers with employees in New York. The NY PFL law provides … Continue Reading

Changes to ERISA’s Disability Claims Regulations Coming April 1

Employers who offer short-term and long-term disability plans governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), and their plan administrators, need to prepare for the approaching April 1st deadline of the new claims handling regulations.  Employer action items can be found in our article posted here. The ERISA regulations were effective January 2017, but were delayed until … 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

New California Disability and Leave Laws – Are You Ready for 2018?

With the turn of the year comes a wave of new California disability and leave laws.  Employers should review their existing policies and procedures to determine if they will be in compliance with these new laws—many of which will go into effect on January 1: Parental Leave:  California will expand parental leave to small employers.  … 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
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