One the biggest FMLA headaches for employers is when an employee fails or refuses to provide information to cure insufficient or incomplete medical certification. When the employer does not have the information to determine whether an absence qualifies as FMLA leave, it is left with a true dilemma: Try and obtain permission to talk to the health care provider? Delay or deny the leave and face possible litigation? Or simply approve the leave and go on with your day (after all, it’s easier to avoid the confrontation, right)?
Employers: Fear no more! In a recent case decided by the employee-friendly Ninth Circuit, an employer has the right to deny FMLA leave where the employee refuses or fails to provide adequate certification to support the need for leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act. Lewis v. United States and Donley (pdf). This case has excellent practical take aways for employers.