Although it’s been nearly 25 years since the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 took effect, employers – and courts – continue to struggle with the law.
“It’s utterly striking that in the last 12 to 18 months, there’s a clear trend of situations where an employer has a policy on FMLA, but it’s the practice of it that is going awry in some way,” says Matt Morris, attorney and vice president of FMLASource at ComPsych.
Morris also noted a trend that some companies believe that if an employee doesn’t use the “magic words” of “I want FMLA leave,” then the company won’t be held liable in an FMLA claim. That’s simply not the case, as recent and previous court cases have confirmed.
“Where they also fall down,” he adds, “is when there’s not a clarity of path on how to request leave or if there is, the employer obfuscates it by saying, ‘You have to call this 1-800 number to request your leave but if you text your manager, that’s fine.’ That’s where the message gets muddled.”
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