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Virginia Employer Dodges FMLA Bullet

A recent FMLA case out of the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia brings to mind the expression “its better to be lucky than good.”  In the case of Trail v. Utility Trailer Manufacturing Company, No. 1:18CV00037 (W.D. Va. 1/8/20),  a Southwest Virginia manufacturer succeeded in getting a former employee’s FMLA  […]

I am NOT a Racist! And You “Created” My Performance Problems!

After 26 years, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) has pretty much reached the point where most cases rely on established jurisprudence.  There just is not that much new out there.   For example, if performance issues arise after an employee’s return to work they should be handled without regard to the employee’s use of […]

U.S. Department of Labor Issues Three New Opinion Letters

On August 8, 2019, the federal Department of Labor (“DOL”) issued three opinion letters which concern the Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) and the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”).  The details are as follows: FMLA2019-2-A Intermittent leave to attend Committee on Special Education (“CSE”)/Individualized Education Program (“IEP”) meetings to address the educational and special medical […]

Follow The Company Rule To Request FMLA. No, The Other One.

Another “head-shaker” case from FMLA land. Section 825.303(a) of the DOL’s regulations on requesting FMLA leave provides that when an unforeseen need for FMLA leave arises, “an employee must provide notice to the employer as soon as practicable . . . within the time prescribed by the employer’s usual and customary notice requirements applicable to […]

Maryland General Assembly Approves Organ Donation Leave Legislation

The Maryland General Assembly has approved legislation (HB1284/SB0705) that entitles eligible employees to unpaid job-protected leave for organ and bone marrow donation.  While expected to be approved, this legislation is not yet finalized and has not officially passed into law. Under the new legislation, Maryland employers with at least 15 employees would be required to […]

DOL Issues First FMLA Opinion Letter Of 2019

In FMLA2019-1-A, the DOL advised that an employer cannot delay designating qualifying leave as FMLA, even if requested by the employee.  In particular, the DOL was asked if it is permissible to permit employees to exhaust first any non-FMLA leave prior to designating otherwise qualifying leave as FMLA. The DOL explained that an employer may not […]

Proposals Introduced For National Paid Leave Law

Congress is exploring proposals for providing workers with paid parental leave law, which is something President Trump advocated in his most recent State of the Union address. The President’s plan, outlined in his 2020 budget proposal, calls for six weeks of paid leave for new parents to recover from childbirth and bond with a new […]

Just Ask: Failure To Inquire Whether Mental Illness Is a Serious Health Condition Risks FMLA Liability

Properly handling of mental illness under employment laws remains a challenge for employers.  One of the most common misconceptions is that such conditions don’t trigger protected leave.  A recent Fourth Circuit case however reminds us that notice to invoke Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) benefits does not require “any magic words,” and when it […]