The Law and FMLA Employee Requests
What is the FMLA?
Most employees in the work force know what the initials FMLA stands for, however, few employees know exactly what surrounds these four letters. The Family Medical Leave Act is legally available to every employee who must take a leave of absence from their job due to family emergencies and circumstances.
Employer Professionalism Rules at All Times
It is the responsibility of the employer to keep conversations strictly to the facts between them and the employee needing the FMLA in strict confidence why they need the FMLA leave and facts surrounding this request. Employers who pass on FMLA information to other employees can find themselves in legal trouble.
1. Employers Cannot Put Demands on Employee FMLA Grants
Employers cannot tell employees that they are expected to be to work. When employers interfere with FMLA leaves this opens the door for lawsuits in which the employee will likely win in a court of law.
2. Employers Cannot Pull an FLMA Grant from an Employee
Employers cannot grant time off to any employee who requests a legitimate FMLA and then tell the employee they cannot have that time granted because of any number of reasons causes the employee to sue the company for the interference of their FMLA, especially if the time granted to the employee is not long enough and an extension is denied due to the company needing the employee on the work schedule. Cases such as these end up in court with the employee suing their company for interference with their FMLA even though the time requested was granted. The courts, see this as inconsiderate on behalf of the employee’s company when the extension is needed and not granted.
3. Employers Must Watch Be Mindful of all Conversations with FMLA Employees
Employers dare not mention to employees that FMLA requests will not be granted for any reason. If an employee is aware of this sentiment by their employer and they need to request a legitimate FMLA knowing it is against the employer’s desires to grant such a request the employee can file a lawsuit for the interference of FMLA leave even though the leave is granted. The court can see this employer’s action as an interference of FMLA leave.
At all cost, the employers must keep comments and remarks that prove nothing to themselves and stick only with the sound facts. Employers must keep observations to themselves as well, no matter how the employee behaves if the employee requests an FLMA.
In short, employers need to curb any unnecessary comments to all employees, because if the employer is sued by the employee, the employee will likely win the court case due to the employer interference of employee FMLA leave.
The Court Supports Employees Granted FMLA
Courts apparently look at all aspects of the employees FMLA case and if there are any indications that the employer made any derogatory comments regarding that employee’ FMLA leave the employer will lose the lawsuit.
If there are any indications that any employer threatened to hold an FMLA from an employee, try to coax the employee out of taking an FMLA for any reason, or make an inappropriate remark, the employer could find themselves with a lawsuit by their employee.
Employers, Never Coerce an Employee Requested FMLA
When an employee needs personal family time off from work they must not feel threatened by the company and no arguments can be initiated by the employer on why the employee cannot be granted the time off as indicated. This opens the employer up for a lawsuit by the employee. Employers cannot threaten to fire the employee if they do not return to work of the time off is needed for the family.
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A Bit of FMLA History
The FMLA was born in 1993 during the Clinton administration to help employees meet demands in the workplace and at the same time be available for their family if unusual circumstances arise.
An FMLA allows employees to take at least 12 weeks of unpaid time off from their job without pay and not jeopardize their job or seniority. This time off is meant for health and family issues with the employees, their children, parents, family members, pregnancy, adoption, foster care of a child.
Exceptions to the FMLA Laws
There are certain criteria that an employee must meet before they are eligible for an FLMA of up to 12-weeks within a 12-month period. FMLA leaves do not pertain to elected officials or their staff. There are certain other employees who are exempt from requested FMLA leaves.
– On the job for at least 12-months
– 1,250 hours on the job over a 12- month period
– Be employed at a company where there are at least 50 employees