There's an old saying that if a person is observant, they can learn from the mistakes that others have made and avoid making those same mistakes themselves. It appears that some employers are simply unable to learn from errors others have made when dealing with the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), requests for reasonable accommodations and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
They say that one of the best ways to become wiser is to learn from your mistakes. If that's so, then an employer that made the mistake of firing its IT manager after he took a vacation to Mexico while on medical leave is much, much wiser today.
There is little doubt that properly running the Human Resources department for a large Milwaukee employer is a difficult job. HR specialists are typically involved in recruiting, hiring and training new employees. In many companies, they also help resolve conflicts between employees and manage Family Medical Leave Act matters.
As one of the largest American health insurance companies, Humana has more than 50,000 employees in offices across the nation, including a couple here in the Milwaukee area. The company recently agreed to settle a FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act) lawsuit for $500,000 with an employee who was fired from her job just two weeks after she returned from leave.
There are no good reasons for supervisors, managers or Human Resources directors to encourage or allow sexual harassment or discrimination based on race, religion, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability or age in the workplace. First and foremost, these behaviors are unlawful. Secondly, they cause real harm to victims.
A Wisconsin woman who worked as an administrative assistant played by the rules of the Family and Medical Leave Act ("FMLA"). She notified her employer that after her one-year anniversary at the firm that would make her FMLA eligible, she would have surgery to repair an old Achilles injury. Unfortunately, her employer tried to skirt the rules by informing her that she would instead be placed on unpaid medical leave.
If you go to the Department of Labor’s Milwaukee office and ask, you’ll find that when an employee returns from leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act, “he or she must be restored to the same job or to an ‘equivalent job’.”
The answer to the question is so obvious that it’s a little surprising that the question keeps getting asked. Here’s the question: “Can an employer require an employee to work during a FMLA leave?” The obvious answer: No.
The old song says that a sigh is just a sigh. But when a manager sighs or swears when an employee requests leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act, it can be the start of real problems for the employer. That's what attendees at the recent Society for Human Resource Management's annual conference were told.
The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals gets its cases from the Eastern and Western districts of Wisconsin, in addition to districts in Illinois and Indiana. The court recently affirmed a lower court’s summary judgment in favor of an employer in a Family and Medical Leave Act and Americans with Disabilities Act dispute.