The Wrong Way and the Right Way to Request FMLA Certification

The Family and Medical Leave Act allows an employer to require that a employee's request for FMLA leave be supported by a certification issued by the employee's health care provider. Here's an example of one of the right ways to do this from a recent federal-court decision: On September...

Putting the “Human” Back in Human Resources (Or, How the FMLA Covers Life-Support Decisions)

On April 4, 2006, Jerry Romans received a call at work from his sister, who told him that his terminally ill mother was unlikely to survive the night, and decisions needed to be made about whether to keep her on life support. Prior, Romans had submitted paperwork to his employer certifying that he...

Redefining "Eligible Employee" under the FMLA

An employee does not become eligible to take FMLA leave until he or she has worked at least 1,250 hours and 12 months. But, according to the 11th Circuit, being eligible to take leave is not the same as being eligible to request leave. Employers should be mindful of the court's recent opinion...

U.S. High Court Majority Upholds State's Immunity From Employee's Bias Suit

WASHINGTON, D.C. - (Mealey's) A state employee is blocked by sovereign immunity from recovering damages from his state employer for claims of discrimination brought under the self-care provision of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), a split U.S. Supreme Court ruled March 20, affirming a decision...

US Supreme Court Clarifies Scope of FMLA Coverage for Employers

Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court in Coleman v. Court of Appeals of Md. [ an enhanced version of this opinion is available to lexis.com subscribers] held that state employees have no cause of action under the self-care provision (last bullet point in the hyperlink) of the Family and Medical Leave...

If the Employee Doesn’t Certify, You Need Not Comply (with FMLA)

In Poling v. Core Molding Technologies (S.D. Ohio 2/9/12) , the plaintiff, who suffered from Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome , claimed that his employer interfered with his FMLA rights when it terminated him for excessive absences. Poling's problem, however, was that he never adequately...

The FMLA and the Honest Belief Rule: Monitoring Leave of Absence Abuse

Last week, I discussed the bounds of the "honest belief rule" as a defense to a discrimination claim. Yesterday, in Seeger v. Cincinnati Bell Telephone Co. [pdf] , [ an enhanced version of this opinion is available to lexis.com subscribers ]the 6th Circuit used that same defense to affirm...

VanDeusen on Coleman v. Maryland Court of Appeals

In Coleman v. Maryland Court of Appeals [ an enhanced version of this opinion is available to lexis.com subscribers ], the Fourth Circuit joined five other appellate courts in holding that the self-care provision of the Family and Medical Leave Act does not apply to the states because Congress did...

Employment and Labor Roundup: Defense of Marriage Act decision, drugs, NLRB update, and more!

Giddyap! It's been a short week, but we have tons to talk about in the labor and employment law world! Thinking out loud about the impact of yesterday's DOMA decision on the Family and Medical Leave Act. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit* held yesterday that Section 3 of the...

DOL Issues FMLA Guide

Last week, the Department of Labor issued the Family and Medical Leave Act Employee Guide . It's a helpful resource for employers and employees alike. Check out the flow charts! The guide is concise enough to serve as a quick reference, but detailed enough to touch on some of the finer points. For...

Horseshoes, hand grenades and....FMLA eligibility?

And here I thought close only counted in the first two... Who knew that close enough is good enough under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) when meeting the 1,250-hour eligibility requirement? Apparently, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in this recent decision . In Donnelly v. Greenburgh...

Is "casual conversation" of a parent's health enough to trigger FMLA?

Last month, in this post , I addressed a recent opinion in which the court held that the words "Emergency Room," when uttered by an employee to his employer are enough to put the employer on notice -- at least initially -- that the employee needs leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act...

No call, no show, no FMLA

Just because an employee makes a request for FMLA leave does not excuse an employee from complying with an employer's attendance policies. According to section 825.302(d) the FMLA's regulations : An employer may require an employee to comply with the employer's usual and customary notice...

DOL Issues Guidance on FMLA for Adult Children

Most people know that FMLA covers leave to care for a son or daughter who is under 18 and has a serious health condition. But, did you know that FMLA also covers a child who is "18 years of age or older and incapable of self-care because of a mental or physical disability?" Last week...

Employer's Bane: Unpredictable FMLA Leave. Is There a Solution?

Employers, has this ever happened to you? An employee in a critical-but-inflexible position -- say, a customer service representative -- asks for "intermittent" leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act. If the intermittent time off is "scheduled," it's usually not too...

National and State-by-State Workers' Comp News Roundup Powered by Larson's (2/4/2013)

Sign up here for our free workers' compensation enewsletters (National or California Edition) to receive weekly news items. Be sure to select the enewsletter of your choice. NATIONAL NEWS: Study Examines Relationship Between Health Care Settings, Physical Rehab for Injured Workers . NIOSH...

FMLA Compliance Is Not as Easy as the DOL Says [Poll Results]

In celebration of the FMLA's 20th anniversary, the Department of Labor released the results of a survey of employers on their experiences managing the statute. According to the DOL, " employers generally find it easy to comply with the law , and ... the vast majority of employers, 91 percent...

Posting Vacation Pics on Facebook While on FMLA Is a Bad Idea

The FMLA turned 20 last week and there has been a flurry of articles and posts discussing how the FMLA has changed the workplace, whether it imposes too high of a burden on employers, and predicting how it will likely continue to evolve. Academic commentary aside, though, we all know that the FMLA...

FMLA Protections Expanded by New Regulations

by Laura Salerno Owens The Department of Labor has issued a final rule, effective March 8, 2013, which expands the protections of the Family Medical Leave Act for families of military veterans and for airline flight crews. Employers should be aware that additional employees may now be entitled...

New Department of Labor Rules Implementing Changes to the FMLA for Military Members and Airline Flight Crew Employees

The Family and Medical Leave Act ("FMLA") entitles eligible employees of covered employers to take unpaid leave for (1) the birth of a child and to care for the newborn child; (2) the placement of a child for adoption or foster care and to care for the newly placed child within one year of...

It's Time to Fix the Family and Medical Leave Act -- Here Are Some Suggestions

Dear Congressperson: I know you are busy, but I am hoping you can take a few minutes out of your sequester stuff to help with the Family and Medical Leave Act, as amended by the National Defense Authorization Act of 2008, as amended again by the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year...

Family and Medical Leave Act Amendments May Impact Company Policies

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) policies have been the subject of many changes over the past several years. The FMLA entitles an eligible employee to take up to 12 weeks (and in some situations 26 weeks) of unpaid leave during a 12-month period for a qualifying reason. The addition of the military...

Steptoe & Johnson: Two Important HR Compliance Changes of Note: I-9 & FMLA

by Ann Kontner Busy HR Managers should be aware that there have been two recent compliance changes that require their immediate attention. These are a change in the Form I-9 and the Family and Medical Leave Act. New Form I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification Form) Issued On March 8, 2013...

Does HIPAA Apply to Employers?

by Ruth T. Griggs The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, better known as HIPAA, protects the privacy and security of patient health information . A common question from human resource managers has been what is the impact of HIPAA on an employer’s ability to collect employee...

Steptoe & Johnson PLLC: FMLA Misstep Proves Costly to Energy Employer

By Lindsay M. Bouffard An oil and gas support services company recently paid more than $43,000 in back wages and agreed to reinstate a terminated employee after a Department of Labor (DOL) investigation revealed the company terminated an employee in violation of the Family and Medical Leave Act...