It used to be that the U.S. Department of Labor was so preoccupied with investigating wage and hour complaints that Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) complaints often went ignored. But a newfound dedication to addressing FMLA issues has resulted in a number of companies being investigated for failure to comply with FMLA regulations.
Generally, the biggest FMLA complaints which lead to DOL investigations are:
- Refusing to authorize FMLA leave despite an employee’s eligibility;
- Discouraging a worker from using FMLA leave;
- Basing employment actions, such as hiring, promotions or discipline, upon whether an employee has used FMLA leave; and
- Systemic violations.
There is never a bad time to conduct an audit of your current FMLA policies in order to reduce the likelihood of a DOL investigation. With the assistance of an employment attorney, you can take the following actions to help protect your practice regarding your attendance policy while making sure it complies with the ADA and the FMLA.
- Ensure that the FMLA policy listed in your practice’s employee handbooks and FMLA forms are in compliance with the most current DOL regulations;
- Make sure that your practice has an FMLA packet to give to your employees, which includes your practice’s FMLA policy and all of the required forms;
- Make sure that your attendance policy complies with the ADA and FMLA
- Maintain complete files for all workers who have requested or taken FMLA leave in the past three years, including the dates of leaves and copies of all correspondence, notices, certifications, benefit documents and disputes relating to such leave;
- Train yourself and any other managers to recognize when absences or leave requests may have FMLA implications.
An FMLA compliance investigation, like any labor-related dispute, can cost your practice time and money. Seek the advice of a professional in order to minimize FMLA issues, or any other labor complaints.