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Contacting Employees on FMLA Leave: Answers to 4 Inevitable Questions

Navigating employee leave issues can be a daunting feat for in-house counsel and human resources departments. One challenging and oft-overlooked situation rife with the potential for legal issues involves contact between employers and employees who are out on leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

If an Employee Attends a Beyonce Concert While on FMLA Leave, Can She Be Terminated?

Imagine marketing director, Michelle, jamming to this Beyonce song in the middle of AT&T Stadium in Dallas. On that very day, however, she’s supposed to be recuperating at home after suffering a panic attack at work.

FMLA Causation Standard Slides Down

Navigating the waters of employee leave is tricky business for employers. At the federal level, FMLA requires “covered” employers to provide employees with job-protected and unpaid leave for qualified medical and family reasons. The question of the appropriate causation standard that must be proven in an FMLA claim is not unanimous among the Circuit Courts. In Woods v. START Treatment & Recovery Centers, the Second Circuit put its stake in the ground.

How to Bungle an FMLA Policy in 10 Easy Steps

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) has been around since 1993. And while there are a lot of requirements and regulations for employers to navigate, the basic obligations of the law are well known for the most part, and there is plenty of information and guidance available to help make FMLA compliance manageable. Despite this, employers continue to make easily-avoidable errors. Here are 10 ways an employer can bungle its FMLA policy and practices.

Hurricane Harvey and the FMLA: Are Your Employees Eligible for Leave During a Natural Disaster?

Our thoughts and prayers are with those in Texas and Louisiana who are in the dangerous path of Hurricane Harvey. Join us sending a donation to those organizations performing rescue operations and providing much needed help to our fellow Americans in need.

Poorly Implemented FMLA Policies and Procedures are Killing Employers. Don't Be That Employer.

Poorly implemented FMLA policies and procedures are in the spotlight this week. And just a few vague words and a slip up are costing two employers hundreds of thousands of dollars.

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.

Second Circuit Lowers Bar for Causation in FMLA Retaliation Claims

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit recently ruled that to advance a viable claim for retaliation under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), an employee need only demonstrate that exercising his or her rights under the FMLA, such as taking protected leave, was viewed as a negative factor by the employer in connection with an adverse employment action. This so-called “motivating factor” or “mixed-motive” standard is a lower burden of proof than the “but for” standard often applied to retaliation claims. A lower burden of proof will likely result in an increase in the number of FMLA retaliation claims that will survive summary judgment in Connecticut, New York, and Vermont, the states where the Second Circuit exercises federal appellate jurisdiction.

FMLA FAQ: Can a Chiropractor Certify FMLA Leave for the Chronic Bad Back? And Are There Limits?

Backs across America must collectively be giving out, as my clients’ questions about medical certification from chiropractors are on the increase.

Documented Performance Issues and Inadequate Notice of Need for Leave Sink Employee’s FMLA Claims

Granting summary judgment to an employer on Family and Medical Leave Act claims asserted by a former employee, an Illinois district court held that: (1) the employee had failed to demonstrate his firing had any causal relationship to his prior FMLA leave (or any potential future need for FMLA leave); and (2) the employer’s initial denial of FMLA leave was justified based on the plaintiff’s failure to provide sufficient medical documentation justifying his wife’s “serious health condition.” Davidson v. Evergreen Park Community High School District 231, No. 15 C 0039, 2017 U.S. LEXIS 77724 (N.D. Ill. May 23, 2017).