LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
Firing a Sick Employee Just Before She Is FMLA-Eligible Is Very Risky

So, check this out. I read this case yesterday about an employee who provided her company with a November 12 doctor's note, requesting that her hours be reduced due to her high-risk pregnancy. The employee would have become eligible for coverage under the Family and Medical Leave Act on November...

The Importance of Communication During FMLA Leave

How many times has an employee provided you with an incomplete Family and Medical Leave Act certification? Oh, I don't know, maybe a missing return date... If the FMLA leave is foreseeable , then the employee must provide the employer with the anticipated timing and duration of the leave. However...

Changes Ahead for FMLA Spouse Definition

The Department of Labor (DOL) will soon publish a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking regarding the definition of "spouse" under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The new rule will enlarge the definition of spouse and likely simplify administration for employers. In August 2013, the DOL issued...

Third Circuit: Mailing FMLA Notice Not Enough for Summary Judgment?

Sometimes the most mundane tasks can make or break your case. Here's something I never thought I'd say: Big decision from the Third Circuit about how to mail FMLA notices! Read the opinion in Lupyan v. Corinthian Colleges, Inc. (for my Pennsylvania readers, the Third Circuit is our jurisdiction...

FMLA 101: Don't Make an Employee Work During Leave. Just Don't.

Really. It's a bad idea. Like my youngest son using chopsticks and a fork at the same time to eat pho . Ok, not that bad. But, definitely blogworthy. I read this case over the weekend about an employee who, while on maternity leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act, was required to...

Foley & Lardner LLP: Cherry-Picking: 7th Cir. Criticizes Lawyers' Summary-Judgment Practice

By Thomas L. Shriner Jr. Two weeks ago, in an order given wide publicity nationally, federal District Judge Mark Bennett of the Northern District of Iowa issued sanctions in Security National Bank v. Abbott Laboratories , addressing what Judge Bennett perceived as abusive discovery conduct in a case...

Here's Why You Provide a List of Essential Job Functions When Approving FMLA

The FMLA's return-to-work requirement. Under the Family and Medical Leave Act , an eligible employee has the right to take up to twelve workweeks of covered leave for, among other things, for the employee's own serious health condition. The FMLA prohibits an employer from interfering with...

Questioning an Employee’s FMLA Leave? Require Certification.

by Kaitlin L. Hillenbrand Allowing employees to take FMLA leave is good for employees, it’s good for families, and, of course, it’s required by law. But what if you have an employee who takes FMLA leave when nothing seems to be wrong? For example, you could have an employee who reports...

HR Cheatsheet: When an Employee Texts You From an Ebola Quarantine Tent

Five minutes ago, after taking the obligatory selfies and between games of Candy Crush, one of your employees texted (because, calling in, as if!) from an Ebola quarantine tent to alert you that she will be out of work for 21 days, while under observation for Ebola. As an employer, what are your obligations...

Wisc. FMLA Protects Undocumented Worker: Burlington Graphic Systems

"Burlington argues that an employer cannot violate the Wisconsin FMLA by discharging an undocumented worker as that worker has no right to employment in the first instance and federal immigration law mandates the discharge. We disagree. Federal immigration law is not an absolute defense to an employer’s...

New Department of Labor Regulations for Same-Sex "Spouse" Under FMLA

Tomorrow, the Department of Labor will publish a Final Rule to Revise the Definition of “Spouse” Under the FMLA (including links to additional information). Per the DOL, the "major features" are: • The Department has moved from a “state of residence” rule...

Ditch Those Inflexible Leave Policies, Would You Already? #FMLA #ADA #EEOC

Yesterday, with my good buddies Casey Sipe and Jessica Miller-Merrell from Blogging4Jobs.com , I presented a webinar on the interplay between the Family and Medical Leave Act, state workers’ compensation laws, and the Americans with Disabilities Act. The key word in the last sentence being “...

Marriage Equality and the FMLA

The Supreme Court’s 2013 ruling in United States v. Windsor created a lot of uncertainty in the area of federal employment benefits. Because the federal government’s definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman was held to be unconstitutional, the decision left open the question...

FMLA’s “Same-Sex Spouse” Rule On Hold, For Now

Today, the new rule that would permit FMLA benefits for same-sex spouses was to take effect. However, late yesterday, a federal judge in Texas granted a preliminary injunction [pdf] temporarily halting the rule . The plaintiffs—the attorney generals of four states that do not recognize same...

Five FMLA Facts That May Surprise Even the Most-Seasoned HR Pros

How do I top yesterday’s FMLA cluster ? That’d be like asking a pitcher who just threw a no-hitter to get back out there and pitch another one. Well, gimmee a second to limber up, grab my rosin bag, and, Imma start dealing a few FMLA curveballs. (See what I did there?) A private...

Amendments to California Family Rights Act Regulations Provide Some Clarity to Employers

by Lisa Harris and Dorna Moini The California Fair Employment and Housing Council (FEHC) has issued amended regulations clarifying the California Family Rights Act (CFRA). The amendments will go into effect on July 1, 2015, and are intended to clarify previously confusing rules and adopt regulations...

“FMLA” Is Not A Magic Word

Does an employee have to invoke the letters “F-M-L-A” for an employer to offer it? Or, what if an employer fires an employee who misses work because of an FMLA-qualifying illness for which FMLA-leave was not offered? Has the employer violated the statute? In Festerman v. County of Wayne...

Court Imposes FMLA Catch-22

If you arrive at a friend's house at 12:05 a.m. and leave 14 hours later, would you say you stayed overnight? Of course you would. It's common sense. But common sense is sadly lacking in employment law many times. In a case where an employee faced a FMLA Catch-22 , the Third Circuit said that...

FMLA Basics: Which Employees Are Eligible to Take Leave? And Are There Any Exceptions?

The Family and Medical Leave Act allows eligible employees to take up to 12 workweeks of unpaid leave in a 12-month period for a variety of reasons, including for one’s own serious health condition. An employee with a serious health condition can take FMLA leave if the employee satisfies three...

POLL: Should Congress Require Companies to Provide Paid Family and Medical Leave From Work?

Last week, President Obama signed an Executive Order requiring federal contractors to provide paid sick leave. More on that here . The Department of Labor has a roadshow and social media campaign , through which it is touting the benefits of paid family and medical leave. And the Family and Medical Insurance...

Leave Policies Should Apply Equally Across Genders … But Must They?

The New York Times reports that CNN has settled an EEOC charge brought by a former correspondent, who claimed that the company’s paid parental leave policy discriminated against biological fathers. At the time Mr. Levs’s daughter was born, in October 2013, CNN offered 10 weeks of paid...

Paid-FMLA Poll Results and an Employment Law Blog Carnival

Yesterday , I asked you — and when I say you, I’m referring to the best change-agents in the entire universe — whether you were cool with the government requiring your businesses to provide a modest amount of paid family and medical leave to employees. Of those who responded to the...

Help Me, Handbook. How Do I Track Intermittent FMLA Leave?

One word: Outsource. See you tomorrow. Oh, you mean some of you actually do this yourselves?!? Ok. As you should know, in certain circumstances eligible employees may take leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act intermittently or on a reduced leave schedule . Intermittent leave is FMLA leave...

Keep Your Insensitive FMLA Comments to Yourself. You Too, HR.

I’ve heard the Family and Medical Leave Act referred to as the “Friday/Monday Leave Act.” Heck, I called it the Friday/Monday Leave Act last week. Turns out, I need to watch what I say. A “get out of jail free card.” In Deka v. Countrywide Association For People with...

Texas: Court OKs Termination of Injured Employee at End of FMLA Leave

An employee who sustained an admitted work-related injury, who was placed on “Family Medical Leave” by the employer while the employee was away from work due to his injuries, and who was terminated upon the expiration of the 12-week FMLA leave, could not recover for retaliatory discharge...