The Family and Medical Leave Act is an important federal law designed to protect employees’ rights when they need time off for medical or family-related reasons.
However, some employers may inadvertently or deliberately breach these regulations.
1. Inadequate notification of FMLA rights
One prevalent mistake employers make is failing to inform employees about their FMLA rights. The law mandates employers to provide employees with information about FMLA eligibility and their rights under the act. Employers should display FMLA posters in the workplace and include information about FMLA in employee handbooks.
2. Improper handling of FMLA paperwork
FMLA requires employees to provide appropriate notice and submit relevant documentation when requesting leave. Employers, in turn, are responsible for handling these requests in a timely and proper manner. Some employers, however, may mishandle or ignore the required paperwork, leading to delayed or denied leave. This can create unnecessary stress for employees dealing with health or family issues.
3. Unauthorized medical inquiries
Employers must respect the privacy of employees when it comes to medical information. One common violation occurs when employers make unauthorized medical inquiries, such as asking for excessive details about an employee’s medical condition. Such actions can infringe on an employee’s right to privacy and violate FMLA provisions.
4. Failure to reinstate employees properly
Upon returning from FMLA leave, employees should return to their original position or an equivalent one. Some employers may fail to reinstate employees properly, either by assigning them to a different role or by denying them promotions or benefits they would have received had they not taken FMLA leave.
In FY2023, 334 compliance actions with violations occurred, resulting in $987,782 in back wages to 395 employees. For employees who feel they had their rights violated, there is hope to recoup compensation.