Category Archives: Abuse of FMLA leave

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Note to Self: Posting My Beach Vacation Photos on Facebook During FMLA Leave is Not a Good Idea

I always love a good social media FMLA smack down. It’s even better when the employer handles the situation in textbook fashion. Today’s installment offers both, while also providing a road map for employers when investigating suspected FMLA abuse. Let me share the story of Rodney. Rodney was the activity director for Accentia Health, a … Continue Reading

Employee Tells a Co-Worker That He Plans to Misuse FMLA Leave. Court Says It's OK to Demote 'Em!

Keith was a manager for Costco. By all accounts, he wasn’t a very good employee.  The store disciplined Keith over customer complaints, dress code violations, and failing to perform his job duties.  Consequently, he was placed on a performance improvement plan. Shortly after receiving the PIP, Keith told a subordinate that he planned to take FMLA leave “to secure his managerial rate … Continue Reading

A Cruise Aboard the Love Boat is Not Protected by the FMLA, Even When the Doc Says It's a Good Idea

This post has nothing to do with Netflix and its new, generous parental leave policy.  Or GOP presidential candidate Carly Fiorina’s latest position on paid leave. Sorry to disappoint. But it does involve an exotic boat cruise. And of course, the FMLA. Tantalizing? Jump aboard the Love Boat to find out… The Facts Lucy worked for the State … Continue Reading

Managing FMLA Red Flags and Staying Ahead of the Trends: A Recap of our Webinar

Thanks to those who attended my webinar last week with Ellen McCann on “Managing Red Flags and Staying Ahead of the Trends.”  If you missed the program, you can access the webinar and materials here. In a mere hour, Ellen and I covered a number of hot FMLA topics and trends, such as: Conducting an … Continue Reading

"I Got Stuck in the Blood Pressure Machine at the Grocery Store and Couldn't Get Out!": How Employers Deal with the Most Outrageous Excuses for FMLA Leave

Don’t you hate it when someone glues your windows and doors shut so you cannot make it to work? Hasn’t happened to you? According to a recent CareerBuilder survey, this may very well have happened to one of your co-workers the last time he was absent from work. Last month, CareerBuilder published the 2014 edition … Continue Reading

Join Me for a Complimentary FMLA Webinar: Managing FMLA Red Flags and Staying Ahead of the Trends

It’s Webinar Time! The year 2014 has ushered in a host of fascinating developments involving the FMLA. Courts across the country have issued critical decisions on an employee’s notice of the need for FMLA leave; whether an employee can affirmatively decline FMLA leave; combating FMLA abuse; and caring for a family member. Please join us … Continue Reading

"Eating Turkey Made Me Fall Asleep and I Missed my Shift": How Employers Can Deal with the Most Outrageous Excuses for FMLA Leave

According to a recent CareerBuilder survey, nearly one-third (32 percent) of your employees have called in sick when they’re not actually sick.  Perhaps just as notable, 30 percent of your employees admit that they have reported to work despite actually being sick. The reason? So they can save their sick days for when they’re feeling … Continue Reading

Is Your Employee Paying a Deception Service to Provide You a Fake Doctor's Note or FMLA Certification?

Have you ever suspected that your employee has given you an excuse too rehearsed or provided a doctor’s note a bit too slick in support of their leave of absence? Don’t be fooled: they actually might be paying for the excuse. Just when we thought we’d seen it all. According to a report from the … Continue Reading

An Employee Requests and is Denied Vacation Leave but Later Takes FMLA Leave for the Same Time Period. What Recourse Does an Employer Have?

This scenario is all too familiar for employers: shortly before Christmas, your employee requests vacation leave for Christmas Eve and New Years Eve.  Due to seniority or the employee’s last minute request for time off, her leave request is denied.  However, like clockwork, she calls off sick and requests FMLA leave on Christmas Eve and NYE, claiming she can’t work due to a … Continue Reading

A Couple Quick Tips to Fight FMLA Abuse Around the Holidays

Have your employees’ absences from work been a bit more frequent lately?  And are you tired of the lame excuses they’re providing?  After all, there are only so many times your employee’s dog can knock over the Christmas tree….on top of your employee, right? In this “best of” FMLA post, employers need not settle for patterns of … Continue Reading

Best Practices for Employers When Administering FMLA Leave: A Recap of our Webinar

Thanks to those who attended my webinar last week with Matt Morris and Tamika Lynch on “FMLA Made Easy: Effectively Managing Difficult FMLA Issues.”  If you missed the program, you can access the webinar and materials here.  As the survey feedback indicated, this webinar was a great opportunity to discuss common issues that arise in the administration … Continue Reading

Facebook Pictures of Employee Socializing at Local Festival Drown Her FMLA Claims

Employers and fellow FMLA nerds, consider this an early holiday present: Courts are increasingly dismissing FMLA claims when they find that the employer has an honest belief that the employee has engaged in FMLA fraud.   This is a longer than usual post, but hang with me, as I share some best practices below.   … Continue Reading

Employer's 'Honest Suspicion' of FMLA Abuse Enough to Dismiss FMLA Claims

Carrier Corp. had enough of its employees abusing FMLA leave, so it played the ultimate trump card — the Company hired a private investigator to conduct surveillance on 35 employees who were suspected FMLA abusers.  One of the 35 was Daryl Scruggs, who served as a brazier (one who torches parts into fan coils) for the Company.  Scruggs Has … Continue Reading

Giants Beat Patriots in the Super Bowl! Can I take FMLA Leave Today?

Monday, February 6, 2012 is a bittersweet day for employers across New York and elsewhere.  Just hours earlier, their employees watched the New York Giants beat the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI.  For these employers, however, many of their employees won’t be at work Monday morning.  The reason?  In a 2008 survey conducted by The … Continue Reading

Employee Who Abused FMLA Leave Around the Holidays Properly Terminated

Employers often complain that they see an uptick in the use of sick leave and FMLA leave around the holidays.  In the case of Southwest Airlines, however, one employee clearly took FMLA misuse a bit too far. Douglas Rydalch was a reservation sales agent for Southwest.  When Southwest closed its reservation center in Salt Lake … Continue Reading

Will Employers Soon Use GPS to Catch FMLA Abuse?

Earlier this week, the folks at the Texas Employment Law Update highlighted a case before the U.S. Supreme Court in which the high court will consider whether law enforcement’s placement of a GPS devise on a suspect’s vehicle without a warrant constitutes an unlawful search in violation of the Fourth Amendment.  This case led the authors to wonder … Continue Reading

Employee's FMLA Claim Dismissed After Taking a Trip to Cancun

Employees should think twice before setting off on a Cancun vacation while out on FMLA leave.  In an FMLA decision that smacks of pure common sense, a federal court has upheld an employer’s reasonable work rules that restricted an employee’s travel outside the immediate vicinity while on FMLA leave.  Pellegrino v. CWA (pdf). The Facts Denise Pellegrino, a … Continue Reading

Play Ball! An FMLA Lineup That Keeps You in the Pennant Race

In this opening weekend of major league baseball, hope springs eternal for every baseball fan.  In honor of my beloved Chicago White Sox, I offer an FMLA lineup card below that from top to bottom will help employers stay atop the pennant race throughout the year.  [First, feel free to play the National Anthem if you so desire…] From … Continue Reading

An Employer's FMLA Nightmare? Hooters Offers Fake "Doctor's Notes" to Skip Work During NCAA Tourney

Over the upcoming weeks, when Carl the Custodian is missing from your workplace, you may want to give your local Hooters Restaurant a call.  He just might be there watching the NCAA tournament.  Hooters has unveiled a marvelous marketing ploy to get customers through their doors during the NCAA tournament — the Company is offering doctor’s … Continue Reading
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