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What Managers Need to Know About FMLA, The Family and Medical Leave Act

A legal document shows the title Managers have the potential to cost your business a lot of money, if they don’t know the law.

Every year, there are thousands of lawsuits due to alleged breaches of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The more your managers know about the FMLA rules, the better your company will treat its employees and the safer from lawsuits it will be. Train your managers with the following FMLA facts to lead the best workplace you can.

1. Take an Interest in Your Employees’ Health Conditions

Managers need to be aware of their employees’ health conditions. Some conditions can become more serious. A small pain now may develop into a debilitating condition later. Being aware early can help. 

2. FMLA Can be Spaced Out

FMLA often is long-term, but it does not need to be. In some cases, absences spread out can be protected under FMLA law. Make sure to know the difference between a regular sick day and an intermittent FMLA out day. 

3. Coordinate Between Managers and HR

When a manager has ruled that an employee qualifies for FMLA leave, make sure to include HR. Set up the right time for managers to begin having a conversation with your HR department to make this process easy.

4. Be Consistent

No one likes a manager that plays favorites - that can also break the law. Make sure your sick and even FMLA policy applies to everyone. If there are exceptions, an employee could make a claim that they were retaliated against. 

5. Confidentiality is Key

Medical conditions and history are private. Managers need to keep all medical and FMLA information only between the involved parties. Train your managers on how to discuss an employee’s situation with other staff.

6. Leave Them Alone!

If an employee is out on FMLA leave, leave them alone. There may be unavoidable contact, but for the most part, if they are gone, let them be. Have your managers go through HR in critical times. 

Stay Safe by Thinking of Your Employees’ Needs

Remember, your employees want to work for you. Many people have medical conditions that prevent them from working even when they would prefer to be at work. Encourage your managers to have open conversations with their staff while respecting HR and legal guidelines. Make sure to document every interaction your management and HR teams have regarding FMLA to cover your end.

If you have other concerns about employees’ rights, contact Pitt, McGehee, Palmer, & Rivers. Our legal experts help protect workers’ legal rights in wrongful termination, discrimination, and other cases. 

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