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FMLA: Verbal Notice Trumps Employer Policy

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FMLA: Verbal Notice Trumps Employer Policy

The Family and Medical Leave Act raises legal issues that aren’t easy to address or are misunderstood. Consider the case of Harvey v. Waste Management of Illinois, No. 1:08-cv-06828, N.D. Ill. An employee had 11 points for unexcused absences. One more, and termination would occur. When he arrived at work on the day in question, he reported to two supervisor that he was sick. One of the supervisors noticed the employee was visibly ill and had trouble standing. It was decided that the employee should go home. The employee’s absence that day was considered unexcused, giving him 12 points. He was terminated.

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Pregnancy Leave — Tip of the Week

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Pregnancy Leave — Tip of the Week

In a recent Slate article, Sharon Lerner rips both federal and state governments for the paucity of leave given women after the birth of  a child. The article also discusses leave laws across the country. I will avoid joining the philosophical debate on pregnancy leave (which is what Lerner’s article is mainly about), but the article will serve as the basis for this week’s tip.

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Medical Evidence for FMLA Leave?

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Medical Evidence for FMLA Leave?

If an employee is incapacitated for more than three days, she’s entitled to leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). What if an employee is sick and has a doctor’s note authorizing two days off? What if the employee misses days three and four and says she was still sick as a result of the medical condition diagnosed by the doctor? What if the employer fires the employee because she didn’t have medical proof for any leave beyond two days?

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What’s Wrong? Tip of the Week

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What’s Wrong? Tip of the Week

Ever asked someone at work, “What’s wrong?” It’s a common question in all parts of life. In the workplace, we’re sometimes reluctant to ask. It may be because we really don’t want to know or fear a long explanation. It may be because we’re afraid we’ll find out something we’re not supposed to know. It may be because we’re just not big on communication.

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Animal Employment Rights

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The EpsteinBeckerGreen Prima Facie Law Blog has a recent post about the applicability of the Family and Medical Leave Act to an employee who has a sick dog. It may be time to amend the Animal Employment Protection Act.


Faith Healers and the FMLA

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Are faith healers health care providers under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)? Check out Jon Hyman for the answer.


H1N1 Workplace Policy: Go to Work

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As the New York Times notes, some employees find themselves between a rock and a hard place when it comes to dealing with the Swine Flu. The CDC encourages employers “to develop nonpunitive leave policies” to address this crisis, but the fact is that 40% of all private-sector workers don’t receive paid sick days. This results in a double whammy, because sick employees may go to work anyway and send their flu-infected children to school.

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Swine Flu and FMLA

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Lately, there’s been a flurry of articles, posts, webinars, and audio conferences on how employers should handle the H1N1 flu, a.k.a., swine flu. There’s been so much, I decided everything that needed covering was being covered. Although this may be true, I thought it worthwhile to comment on a wrinkle in the applicability of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

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2009 AEIS

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The 14th annual Advanced Employment Issues Symposium (AEIS) is underway in Nashville, I again have the privilege of serving as moderator. The program will be repeated in Las Vegas on October 29-30. Call M. Lee Smith Publishers at 1-800-274-6774 for more information. Here’s a taste of what you can choose from if you attend.

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Hold On, I’m Coming, Says Secretary of Labor, Hilda Solis

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In a recent commencement speech, Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis made it clear which side of the management-labor divide she’s on. (See article in New York Times.) Her roots and her career make Solis unabashedly pro-union, pro-worker. One could argue whether the Secretary of Labor should be so vocal about her pro-labor stance, but with Solis, there’s no room for argument. (And in fairness, the Bush administration made no secret of its pro-management leanings.)

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To Be Sick or Not To Be Sick

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With the convergence of our economic crisis and swine flu fears, sick days are nothing to sneeze at. Some workers have always taken pride in never missing a day of work because of sickness. They don’t take into account the number of coworkers they’ve made sick to keep their record perfect. 

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Swine Flu Preparedness — Tip of the Week

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I’ve previously posted about swine flu from an employment perspective (click here, here and here). We’ll start this week with a combination tip on the same subject from Dan Schwartz, Delaware Employment Law Blog, Jon Hyman, Michael Moore, and HR Hero Line.


Swine Flu Warning: School Closings

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President Obama has insisted that schools close if there is any sign of swine flu in students. He also says parents can’t just take their out-of-school kids to a day care center. That could make matters worse. Ideally, parents should keep their children at home.

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Breaking News — A Day Late

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I’m sorry to be late with the following news. Keep scrolling down until to get to the summary of this astounding development and then keep scrolling and scrolling and scrolling.

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New FMLA Regs Effective Today

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The new Family and Medical Leave Act regulations are effective today. Check out my previous detailed post on the new FMLA regs.


New FMLA Regulations

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The new Familiy and Medical Leave Act Regulations become effective in one month on January 16, 2009. If you’re hoping they will make the administration of the FMLA substantially easier on a day-to-day basis, I fear you’ll be disappointed. If you’re hoping they will provide a significant way to reduce FMLA abuse, I fear you’ll be disappointed again. The new regs help somewhat. The new forms are perhaps the best thing about the new regs. But the new regs won’t dramatically change your FMLA life.

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New FMLA Regs

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In a post I did last week, I indicated that I would try to have an analysis of the new regs on my blog this week. Since there’s a lot to read and since the regs aren’t effective until January 16, 2009, I’ll take a little more time before doing some kind of analysis. In the meantime, if you want to review the regs only (without all the comments) as published in the Fedeal Register, click here.


Potpourri of Posts — Tip of the Week

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For this week’s tip, I turn to fellow bloggers for some great advice and tips on various subjects affecting our workplaces today — from layoffs to office politics to new FMLA regs to receptionists to employee handbook mistakes to paid prayer time for Muslims to management fads to e-verify regulations to Obama’s election to a possible Secretary of Labor.

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New FMLA Regs

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The long-awaited changes to the Department of Labor’s Family and Medical Leave Act regulations have been published. I conducted an audio conference with my friend and colleague Charlie Plumb from Oklahoma yesterday on tough FMLA questions. We were asked a few times when we thought the new regs would be out, and we said somewhere between seven and 30 days. Close enough.

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Paid Family Leave in New Jersey

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New Jersey has a new paid family leave law, joining California and Washington as the only states in the country having such a law.  Click here for the details.


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