Category Archives: Medical Certification

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Can an Employer Require That an Employee Submit FMLA Certification from a Specialist to Support the Need for FMLA Leave?

When it comes to FMLA medical certification, my clients have many complaints. One beef, in particular, is vague medical information they receive on a certification completed by the employee’s primary care physician. This is particularly true where the employee’s mental health is at issue. Employers (rightfully) complain that they deserve medical information from a specialist who … Continue Reading

Join Me for a Free Webinar: "FMLA Abuse Got You Down? Best Practices for Using FMLA Medical Certification as a Tool to Deter FMLA Misuse"

When: Tuesday, November 15, 2016 (12:00 – 1:15 p.m. central time) Online registration: Click here FMLA Medical certification can be the most effective tool to help employers confirm an employee’s medical condition and their need for time off from work. So, why does such a critical tool tend to create angst, confusion and frustration for … Continue Reading

FMLA FAQ: Must an Employer Accept FMLA Medical Certification from an Online Health Care Provider? And What If It's an LCPC?

Q: Our employee is trying to support his need for FMLA leave with medical certification from an online health care provider. Is this valid under the FMLA?  And What if It’s a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor?  A: Tackling the online doctor issue first, my knee-jerk reaction is NO WAY! After all, the FMLA regulations make clear that … Continue Reading

FMLA FAQ: What if the Doctor Refuses to Use the Employer's FMLA Medical Certification Form? And They Want to Charge a Fee for It?

A couple of clients have asked me recently whether a health care provider can use his/her own medical certification form or “doctor’s note” to support the employee’s need for FMLA leave, or can we require the HCP to use the employer’s form. Or what if the HCP charges a fee to complete the form?  What … Continue Reading

Can Employees Be Disciplined When They Exceed the Frequency or Duration on Their FMLA Medical Certification?

One of the biggest headaches for employers when administering FMLA leave is how to deal with the employee who exceeds the frequency or duration identified on the employee’s medical certification. Nearly all of these situations involve intermittent leave, which is the type of leave most frequently abused by employees. Take, for example, Joe, who suffers from irritable … Continue Reading

Employer's Lack of FMLA Compliance in Handling FMLA Leave Request is a Lesson for the Rest of Us

Want a glimpse into a world where an employer fails to maintain a legally compliant leave management process?  Let me warn you — what you are about to read is not pretty and not for the faint of heart. The Facts Rachna was a resident physician at St. Vincent Health Center.  She also had a … Continue Reading

What Employers Can Learn from Physicians When It Comes to Administering the FMLA

Earlier this month, I took one for the team.  And I survived.  I had the privilege of presenting to a number of employers and health care providers at the annual “Impairment Without Disability” conference, an event sponsored by Mayo Clinic which brings physicians and employers together to share their common knowledge, experiences and goals, and work … Continue Reading

FMLA FAQ: Can an Employer Require a Doctor's Note for Each Intermittent FMLA Absence?

Over the past few weeks, I have had the pleasure of presenting on complex FMLA issues for attorneys and HR professionals attending several seminars sponsored by the National Employment Law Institute (NELI), which puts on some of the best employment law seminars in the country (my session, of course, being a drag on their success!). … Continue Reading

Employer Can Seek Second Opinion After Doctor Finds Employee Fit to Return From FMLA Leave

On a number of occasions, we have discussed whether an employer can keep an employee out on FMLA leave even though they want to return, or whether an employer can require an employee to undergo a full medical examination before returning from FMLA leave.  This scenario often arises where the employer has concerns about whether … Continue Reading

FMLA FAQ: Can an Employer Designate FMLA Leave When an Employee Refuses to Provide Medical Certification?

I received a ton of feedback last week in response to my post about whether an employee can decline FMLA leave even though the absence qualifies under the Act. One question, in particular, was thrown at me repeatedly, and it went something like this: In our workplace, when an employee doesn’t want to take FMLA … Continue Reading

Conquering the FMLA Medical Certification Process: A Recap of our Webinar

Thanks to those who attended my webinar last week with Matt Morris on “Conquering the FMLA Medical Certification Process: Best Practices for Employers.” If you missed the program, you can access the webinar and materials here. We covered a whole host of topics during the webinar:  How does an employer handle an employee who does … Continue Reading

Join Me for an FMLA Webinar: "Conquering the FMLA Medical Certification Process: Best Practices for Employers"

It’s webinar time!  FMLA Medical certification is designed to help employers better understand an employee’s medical condition and their need for time off from work. So, why does such a helpful tool tend to create angst, confusion and frustration within the employer community? Let’s tackle medical certification head on! Please join us on Thursday, December … Continue Reading

Take 2: Does Annual FMLA Certification First Require an Employee's Absence?

The feedback from last week’s blog post on annual FMLA certification came fast and furious.  Most of it was complimentary (thank you!), but several of my fellow FMLA nerds raised an interesting issue.  They noted that the FMLA regulation covering “annual” certifications does not specifically state that the certification in the new FMLA year must … Continue Reading

DOL Busts Employer for Requiring Annual Medical Certification without Leave Request

The DOL is on a roll, and employers can’t be amused. Over the past few months, the Department of Labor seemingly has issued statement after statement after statement announcing settlements it has reached with various employers in conjunction with alleged FMLA violations. Heck, DOL now even has its own blog highlighting its recent FMLA enforcement. [Hey, … 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

Employee Fired for Absences Exceeding his Certification Can Raise a Viable FMLA Claim

Have you ever made a rash decision that you wish you could take back the second you made it? One employer must feel that way right about now. Last week, a federal court refused to dismiss FMLA claims made against the employer by an employee who was terminated for exceeding the number of “episodes” of … Continue Reading

I Believe My Employee is Unfit to Return to Work. Can I Require a Full Medical Examination Before His Return?

Have you ever doubted whether one of your employees actually was fit to return to work from a leave of absence?   Take this situation I counseled a client through a few months back: one of their employees texted a suicide note — to about 40 of his co-workers.  Not surprisingly, it turned the workplace … Continue Reading

When an Employer Provides More Parental Leave to Mom than Dad, is this Gender Discrimination?

I received a ton of feedback on last week’s blog post, which discussed Yahoo’s new parental leave policy and its FMLA implications.  Much of the feedback related to Yahoo’s decision to provide 16 weeks of paid maternity leave to female employees and 8 weeks of paid paternity leave to male employees.  Some wondered whether such a … Continue Reading

Yahoo's Sweetened Parental Leave Policy Raises Practical FMLA Certification Issues for Moms and Dads in the Workplace

It seems that what Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer taketh, she giveth back.  Or something like that.   As you will recall, Mayer made waves several months back when she banned all Yahoo employees from working from home, a rather controversial move seen by some as unfriendly to working parents. Now, in an interesting twist, Yahoo … Continue Reading

How Can Congress Improve the FMLA? Let's Count the Ways...

Over the past month, as we recognized the 20th Anniversary of the Family and Medical Leave Act, advocates for employees and employers have been clamoring for changes to the Act.   On one hand, employee advocates are calling for a broad expansion of the FMLA that would allow for paid leave or broader coverage (e.g., … Continue Reading

Employee's Lack of Diligence in Obtaining Timely Medical Certification Destroys Her FMLA Claim

As a management side attorney, I love when FMLA cases provide real, practical takeaways for employers that help them better administer FMLA leave.  Yesterday was one of those days, as a federal court took a plaintiff to task for: 1) failing to provide timely FMLA medical certification; and 2) failing to make a good faith … Continue Reading
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