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Fraudulent FMLA/Medical Leave North Carolina

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  • Fraudulent FMLA/Medical Leave North Carolina

    One of our employees, an HR professional, took FMLA for her own "illness". She was out for 6+ weeks and was receiving full salary due to our very generous salary continuation policy. She provided us with a faxed doctor's note every couple of weeks extending her leave, although she was visiting a physician less than 4 miles from our office. We have since found that she intentionally altered her last doctor's note which extended her medical leave another full month. (Dr wrote note for 6/19, she altered it to 7/19). Once I noticed it appeared to be altered, I submitted it to her physician requesting they verify the authenticity of the note. Her physician (actually a PA) advised she had originally advised employee to return to work for 1/2 days beginning 6/12, but the employee contacted her on 6/12 advising she'd attempted to return to work and was unable to do so. So, the PA wrote her out another week. I sent an email to the employee requesting each of the original physician's notes to verify her eligibility for continued FML, she contacted me and confessed to having altered the document and was willing to accept the consequences of her actions. I discussed the situation with our president and we agreed that she should be separated from the company. Given her previous performance record, I offered her the opportunity to resign her position so her employment record would remain clean. She refused to resign and is indignant that we will not allow her to return to work and has launched a smear campaign with some of our employees. Of course, she's altered her story to suit her own needs. Subsequently, I've sent her a certified letter indicating the reasons for her separation and again requesting the original physician's notes. Now that you have the background, here is my question: Can we pursue legal remedies if she continues to refuse to submit the original physician's notes? Given she confessed to altering one of them. She received almost $4,000 while on paid leave. Any advice or suggestions would be appreciated.

  • #2
    Get thee to your employment law attorney pronto. Whether or not you could sue her for the leave pay she received fraudently (all of it, or only a portion?) is case- and state-specific. Honestly, I've been in payroll and compensation for over 28 years now and I would not presume to advise you on this, at least relative to trying to recoup the pay to which she was not entitled.

    Don't get into the rumor mill with her. Honestly, she admitted this, I would be firing her tail pretty quickly. Or at least suspend her without pay (the first disciplinary action for the fraudulent activity) until you consult with your attorney, so she isn't in the office garnering support for her side.
    I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

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    • #3
      Can we pursue legal remedies if she continues to refuse to submit the original physician's notes? Not for refusing to submit the notes. You've already invoked the appropriate penalty, which is to terminate her employment. (I would have also terminated her.)

      If you're asking about her repaying the company the salary continuation provided to her, you can certainly pursue that in small claims court if you wish to. You can sue to recoup the monies she received beginning from the date her doctor advised her she could return to work.

      She refused to resign and is indignant that we will not allow her to return to work and has launched a smear campaign with some of our employees. Of course, she's altered her story to suit her own needs. That's quite commonplace after an employee is misfired for gross misconduct. Ignore it. Just because she's telling employees nonsense about why she was fired doesn't mean anyone believes it.

      Wow. Your HR person sure turned out to be a piece of work. At least she's gone.

      Just in case you were wondering whether you're free to share the reason she was fired should you be contacted for a reference, the answer is yes. You'll be doing some other employer a big favor by giving them the straight scoop and helping them to avoid making a dreadful mistake.

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      • #4
        What good are the notes if you are firing her? I'm missing that part. Terminate her and be done with it. You can't sue her for a doctor's note.

        I wouldn't count on recouping the funds paid to her on disability either unless your policy allows for this in the event the employee doesn't return or is fired for cause.
        I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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        • #5
          What good are the notes if you are firing her? I'm missing that part. Terminate her and be done with it. You can't sue her for a doctor's note.

          Our president wants to verify that she didn't intentionally alter any of the other physician's notes. Believe me, she's terminated and I'd love to be done with. I suggested we cut our losses and move on.

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