No announcement yet.

FMLA Advice from the Employer Perspective Arizona

This topic is closed.
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • FMLA Advice from the Employer Perspective Arizona

    First, let me say that I respect FMLA and understand that it is absolutely a good thing for people who have difficult physical and mental issues. That being said, my employer is having significant challenges with folks going on FMLA and abusing the process.

    We have several employees that are on intermittent FMLA and many of them have used the same doctor for "back issues". They tend to take FMLA on Friday or Monday and our HR department seems to simply take it lying down claiming that nothing can be done. I am of the belief that we have a very weak HR department because this is the first time I have had an experience like this in my entire employment history.

    I would like to outline some scenarios and see if someone can help provide answers.

    Scenario A:

    You have several employees who witness others getting on intermittent FMLA and using these FMLA days on Mondays and Friday creating a pattern. Eventually several individuals actually use the same doctor to get approved for FMLA.

    Question 1:

    Is there any way for HR to scrutinize FMLA or do they simply have to accept request from the doctor.

    Question 2:

    What recourse does the employer have to stop these requests for FMLA, if any? If the FMLA days occur at random does the employer have an option to stem these events?

    Scenario B:

    You have an employee that is on long term FMLA (6 months) however their position of employment is integral to your day to day operations. I have read the fact sheet on the department of labor website however I am still left with some questions. "Upon return from FMLA leave, an employee must be restored to his or her original job or to an equivalent job with equivalent pay, benefits, and other terms and conditions of employment.":

    Question 1:

    This persons role is required for day to day operations. Can I hire a new person to fill this role and upon the return of the FMLA staff member move them to a different position? The new position does not have a change in pay or a change in government "grade" level and is mostly the same job duties with a slight variation.

    Question 2:

    If you do not replace the persons position can you at least change this persons office location from an office to a cubicle opening an office for a supervisor?

    Scenario C:

    You have a person who is on intermittent FMLA however when they are in the office they have extremely poor performance. So bad that the department manager would rather put the individual on paid leave than to keep them employed possibly impacting the employer negatively which could result in significant unnecessary costs.

    Question 1:

    Can you fire someone on intermittent FMLA if the rationale for the firing his absolutely zero to do with FMLA and you have built a case through significant documentation?

    Question 2:

    If you have submitted paperwork to fire someone and between the submission of the request to fire and the actual firing the individual goes on intermittent FMLA should that have any impact on your intent to fire said individual?

    Question 3:

    If you have someone on long term FMLA (2 months) yet you learn through another employer that employee is seeking new employment and the new employer is asking about employment history are you allowed to fire that individual?

    Scenario D:

    An employees wife is diabetic and the employee is given intermittent FMLA by the doctor to care for the spouse. The employee tends to take FMLA days immediately after a pay period wherein they have accrued another day of sick leave.

    Question 1:

    Can you do anything about the blatant abuse of FMLA in this scenario?

    Thank you for your time. I am of the opinion that we have an inept HR department that has no clue how to handle FMLA situations and as a result of this our business is handcuffed. We are required to hold positions for folks that are not there, are poor employees and bad seeds, and are spreading this culture through one specific department in the agency. (Just so it is clear about 40% of all FMLA scenarios in this agency occur among about 10% of the employee population which is in this department.)

    Again, I respect FMLA and the folks that use it for legitimate scenarios however the abuse of the systems is 100% clear in my agency and everyone sees this.


  • #2
    There is way too much help needed to answer all of your questions! I would honestly seek out an FLMA consultant/attorney to walk you through what you can and cannot do. I wish I had the time to help for free, but I can't answer this many questions maybe someone else will...

    When I've had questions, I've found the following blog to be helpful:

    And honestly I have read through the regulations multiple times to be very familiar with the processes allowed. However, I do agree wtih you that the deck often seems stacked against the employer.

    Then I also googled "FMLA fraud" and came up with this resource:

    One thing you stated was 6 months FMLA....unless you are in CA or have a state law that I dont' know about, generally only the frist 12 weeks of that falls under FMLA. The rest might fall under reasonable accommodation under ADA and you have to be careful there, but 4-6 months is not FMLA.
    Last edited by hr for me; 02-28-2013, 05:21 AM.


    • #3
      Thank you for taking any time at all. I will review those resources.