Avoiding Costly Mistakes in FMLA Compliance

3 December 2014
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The Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) is a landmark federal law that requires all covered employers (i.e. those with 50 or more employees) to provide eligible employees with up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave in a 12 month period. Leave under the FMLA can be taken for the birth or adoption of a child, for the employee’s own serious health condition, or the serious health condition of a family member.

For covered employers, implementing the requirements of the FMLA can be a nightmare. For example, employers are often left wondering:

  • How is the 12-month period to be measured?
  • Can the 12-month period be measured differently depending on the employee?
  • Does an employee have a “serious health condition” that would qualify him or her for leave?
  • Can FMLA leave be used in connection with the serious health condition of a member of the employee’s extended family?
  • Is the employee required to take all 12 weeks of leave at once?
  • What rights does the employer have while the employee is on leave?
  • What rights does the employer have after the employee returns to work?
  • Can an employee be terminated for taking leave?

The answers to these questions could have real world consequences for the employer’s business and its bottom line.

To avoid costly mistakes in implementing the FMLA, all covered employers are strongly encouraged to obtain legal counsel from a trained employment law attorney. The attorneys at Martineau, Davis & Associates have extensive experience in guiding covered employers through the maze of FMLA compliance. We have successfully advised our clients with respect to the following issues:

  • Determining which of FOUR methods should be used in calculating the 12 month period and ensuring that the chosen method is applied uniformly to all employees;
  • Determining whether a particular illness, injury, or condition would constitute a “serious health condition” for FMLA purposes;
  • Determining what type of medical documentation can be requested from an employee and how often it can be requested;
  • Determining whether a particular family relationship is covered by FMLA;
  • Determining whether and how to substitute paid leave for the unpaid leave under FMLA;
  • Determining whether an employee has been restored to an “equivalent” position upon returning from leave;
  • Determining whether a particular employment action against the employee (e.g. discipline or termination) would constitute unlawful retaliation.

Whether you are a covered employer in need of assistance with FMLA compliance or an employee who believes that his or her rights under the FMLA have been violated, we welcome your call or email. Please contact Martineau, Davis & Associates today at 401-398-8333 to find out more about your rights under the FMLA.

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