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Family and Medical Leave Act Archives

Disability and hostile work environments

Although most Wisconsin employees and supervisors understand that making fun of another employee's disability is never acceptable in the workplace, it can still occasionally happen. Supervisors especially should remember that it is their responsibility to stop any harassment against employees as soon as possible. Additionally, they are required to take steps that will prevent the harassment in the future.

New poster with easier-to-understand FMLA regulations

The U.S. Department of Labor has produced a new poster on the Family and Medical Leave Act for covered employers in Wisconsin and around the country to post in the workplace. Those employers are not required to use the new poster if they have an older one containing the same information on display, but they might want to because the information is presented in a way that is easier to read and understand.

Employers should train managers on FMLA rights

Many Wisconsin employees may be unaware of their rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act, and their supervisors at work may not be clear on what the policies do and do not permit. Staples, the office supply chain, was forced to pay one of its former employees $250,000 because instead of telling him he could take time off to take care of his wife, who was terminally ill, the company had him working from home. The man was fired, and he successfully sued Staples for interference.

Same-sex spouses of federal workers officially included in FMLA

On April 8, the Office of Personnel Management officially published the final rule that allows gay and lesbian federal workers in Wisconsin and around the country to take time off to care for spouses when they are ill. The rule changes the statutory language in the federal Family and Medical Leave Act.

The provisions of the Family and Medical Leave Act

Wisconsin residents may know that the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 entitles most employees working for companies with 50 or more workers to take job-protected time off work when they or a close family member becomes sick. However, the provisions of the FMLA do not cover all illnesses or injuries, and medical conditions must meet at least one of six conditions for the law to apply.

FMLA leave and retaliation

Employees in Wisconsin who take leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act should be aware that while they are protected for taking leave, their employers can still discipline them for unrelated reasons. This happened with one woman who was a supervisor. While she was on FMLA leave, some of the people who worked for her complained to management that she spent so much time online that she was unavailable to them.

The importance of understanding FMLA in Wisconsin

A recent case involving a nurse with debilitating migraine headaches shows how important it is that individuals understand how the Federal Medical Leave Act, or FMLA, works. The woman in question was suffering from headaches so severe that it prevented her from doing her job. After her employer, a hospital, noticed the amount of time she was taking off work, they suggested that she go on intermittent FMLA leave.

Medical leave and termination in Wisconsin

A federal court upheld a decision made by Accentia Health to discharge an employee for posts made to his Facebook account while on leave. The man had been granted 12 weeks of FMLA leave plus 30 days of non-FMLA leave after undergoing shoulder surgery. While on leave, the man had posted pictures of himself swimming in the ocean despite his apparent injury. Fellow employees reported the postings to management.

FMLA calculation may be missing from employers' policies

Most Wisconsin employees have a certain amount of FMLA leave that they may use in a 12-month period. However, there have been cases where the way that employers calculated remaining FMLA leave was not specified in the policy. The Illinois Department of Corrections, for example, fired an employee after claiming that he had too many unexcused absences even though he asked that those absences count as FMLA leave.

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