Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.” So here’s this week’s lesson on FMLA leave paperwork:
In a recent case (Branham v. Gannett Satellite Information), an employee called in sick for a few days and then informed the employer that she had seen a doctor. Then the employer faxed a Certification of Health Care Provider directly to the doctor, who responded that the employee was able to return to work. The employee, however, continued to take time off (and was unaware of the doctor’s report to her employer). Branham was then fired for violating the attendance policy by failing to return to work as released. Branham sued the employer for violating the FMLA.
After making its way through the courts, it was finally decided that the employer missed one very important task. At no point did the employer provide Branham with the appropriate eligibility notice. They should have provided her with the “rights and responsibilities notice,” which includes information on requirements for producing a certification of a serious health condition and the consequences for failing to do so.
Make sure you don’t make the same mistake. You can download the appropriate form from the Department of Labor’s website by clicking here.