FMLA Pitfalls

October 13, 2016

Decades after its initial passage, the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) continues to be one of the most difficult employment laws for employers to manage in the workplace. The law is complex and often disruptive to business operations. However, it gives employees a substantial number of benefits and protections, regardless of the impact on the employer. Here are three of the most common pitfalls facing employers:

  1. Requesting Too Much Medical Information. Human Resources professionals must remember to use the Department of Labor approved FMLA forms.  These forms are designed to comply with the documentation limitations and requirements of the FMLA. Asking too much, or too little, can cause issues down the road.
  2. Failing to Train Supervisors and Managers. Supervisors and managers are often the employee’s first call when they are absent due to illness.  If supervisors and managers are unaware of the obligations associated with the FMLA, particularly the notification and designation requirements, Human Resources professional may never even know the employee’s absence was FMLA-qualifying.  
  3. Failing to Consider the ADA or Worker’s Compensation. The FMLA does not exist in a vacuum. Remember that an employee may be covered by the FMLA, the ADA, and the Worker’s Compensation, or some combination of three, at any given time. Human Resources professionals must ensure that they are complying with all three.

Contributed by Carly Osadetz, Associate, Clark Hill, Labor & Employment Practice Group.

View the on-demand webinar “Managing Leaves of Absence” with Dave Cessante and Carly Osadetz of Clark Hill.