Second Circuit clarifies obligations of employers on FMLA leave requests

Sep 15, 2022

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals recently issued a significant ruling that clarifies the obligations of employers when it comes to FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act) leave requests. This ruling has important implications for employers in the business and consumer services industry, and understanding these requirements can help you navigate the complexities of managing employee leave effectively.

Background on the FMLA

The FMLA was enacted to provide eligible employees with job protection and unpaid leave for specific family and medical reasons. Employers covered by the FMLA must comply with certain requirements, including providing eligible employees with up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave per year.

Understanding the Second Circuit's Ruling

In the recent ruling, the Second Circuit clarified the obligations of employers when it comes to evaluating and responding to FMLA leave requests. The court emphasized that employers have a duty to engage in the "interactive process" with employees who request FMLA leave, which involves an ongoing conversation to determine the employee's eligibility and the specifics of their leave request.

The Interactive Process: Key Considerations

During the interactive process, employers must carefully assess an employee's eligibility for FMLA leave and evaluate the medical certification provided. It is important to note that the employer cannot require additional information beyond what is required by law. Employers must also ensure they communicate effectively with employees throughout the process, providing timely responses to leave requests and keeping the employee informed about the status of their request.

Impact on Employers and Best Practices

The Second Circuit's ruling serves as a reminder to employers in the business and consumer services industry to thoroughly review their policies and procedures related to FMLA leave. Here are some best practices to consider:

  • Develop clear and comprehensive FMLA policies that comply with legal requirements and clearly communicate eligibility criteria to employees.
  • Train managers and HR personnel on FMLA regulations to ensure they understand the interactive process and how to handle leave requests effectively.
  • Maintain accurate and up-to-date records of employees' FMLA requests, certifications, and any related communication. This documentation is crucial for demonstrating compliance in the event of an audit or legal dispute.
  • Regularly review and update your FMLA policies to stay current with any changes in federal or state regulations.
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Vassilis Giannakeas
This ruling 👌💼 provides much-needed clarity on employer obligations 👥📝 regarding FMLA leave requests. It's essential for employers in the business and consumer services industry 🏢🙌 to understand these requirements and navigate employee leave effectively. Kudos to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals! 👏💼
Nov 11, 2023