The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides 12 weeks of unpaid leaves to employees who meet a set of eligibility standards. These standards can be somewhat complex and, even though the FMLA has been around for over 20 years, employers still get make mistakes when determining eligibility. The question then arises, what if your employer tells you that you are covered but then fires you when they later determine you are not actually eligible? This exactly the scenario that arose in a recent federal appeals court decision. See Tilley v. Kalamazoo County Road Commission, 777 F.3d 303 (6th Cir. 2015) (hat tip to the Employer Law Report for bringing this case to my attention). Hit the jump for all the details… Continue reading
Tag Archives: Leave
Telling An Employee They Are Eligible For FMLA Leave May Mean They Are Eligible… Even If They Aren’t
When an individual is suffering from a disability, as defined in the American’s with Disabilities Act, their employer is required to work with them to find a reasonable accommodation that would allow them to complete all of the “essential duties” of their job. If the individual cannot complete all of the essential duties then they could be terminated even though they have a disability. Therefore, determining what qualifies as “essential” is a crucial step in the accommodation process.
While courts will generally look to a number of sources to determine what duties are essential to any given job (job descriptions, time sheets, etc.), there are some aspects of work that are nearly always considered to be essential. Attendance at work is one of these aspects that courts will almost always accept as being “essential” without much further analysis. However, a recent decision from a federal court in Indiana shows that courts may be willing to analyze how essential attendance is on a case-by-case basis. See E.E.O.C. v. AT&T Co., Case No. 1:12-cv-00402-TWP-DKL (S.D. Ind., Nov. 20, 2013). This case could be useful for anyone whose disability affects their ability to routinely attend work. Continue reading
The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is one of the most important protections for workers dealing with their own medical issues or the health issues of a family member. It provides time off for medical care or recuperation and guarantees that you cannot be disciplined or terminated for taking the leave (if you need to get acquainted with the basic protections of the FMLA, here is a video presentation I made with all the info). Unfortunately, while the FMLA does protect you from termination for taking medical leave, there still may be other grounds that an individual can be terminated even while on leave. Additionally, many employers now require some amount of call-in or work done while on leave, but the contours of what exactly can be required are fuzzy. Hit the link for a few cases that illustrate these aspects of the FMLA… Continue reading
The Department of Labor has released revised regulations for the Family Medical Leave Act that apply to members of the military and airline flight crews. There are not any major changes but the regulations have expanded some of the definitions, such as who qualifies as a “covered servicemember” and when an injury must have occurred to qualify as a “serious injury or illness” so it is important to keep updated if you or a family member have served in the armed services. Fortunately, the DoL has posted a handy side-by-side comparison of the changes so you can see what has been modified.
As always, servicemembers who are MNEA members and have questions should contact their UniServ Director right away because this is one of the trickiest parts of a complex statute.