Human Resources News & Insights

She won’t return FMLA paperwork — what can the company do?

While HR feels most of the burden that comes with FMLA compliance, employees have their own rules to follow. What can companies do when a worker fails to meet those requirements?

One recent case involved a woman who needed FMLA but never completed the right paperwork.

The employee began frequently leaving work early. When warned by her boss, she said it was due to a medical condition and turned in a note from her doctor saying she couldn’t work a full eight-hour day.

In response, the company told her she could take intermittent FMLA leave. HR gave her an FMLA application and a certification form for her doctor to fill out.

After 15 days, she still hadn’t returned the paperwork but continued taking unauthorized time off. The company gave her two more warnings, and then she was fired.

She sued, claiming the company violated her FMLA rights. Her argument: The doctor’s note was enough certification.

No dice, the court said. The law says clearly that employees need to turn in the right paperwork to be eligible for leave, and she didn’t do it.

After she refused to turn in the forms, the company was right in treating her time off as unexcused absences and firing her in accordance with its attendance policy.

The case was thrown out.

Cite: Ridings v. Riverside Medical Center

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  • Caron Stransky

    Please notify me of followup comments. Thanks