Take a look at these two tricky, real-life benefits scenarios that could crop up at your company.
These two companies were sued over their benefits practices. Would you have handled the situations differently? Check out what these companies did and what a judge had to say about their actions.
Case No. 1: Company requests FMLA documentation
What happened: The employer’s attendance policy said that when employees arrived late or missed a shift due to a medical condition, they were required to bring in a doctor’s note as documentation. So when an employee — who was approved for intermittent FMLA leave after being diagnosed with depression — missed a shift, she was asked to bring in a doctor’s note within three days. When she failed to do so, she was fired.
Was the company’s decision to terminate her legal?
The decision: No. A court ruled against the employer. The reason? While companies can require doctors’ notes to confirm that absences were medical-related, they must give employees at least 15 calendar days to submit the paperwork.
Cite: Smith v. CallTech Communications, LLC
Case No. 2: Employee never receives COBRA notice
What happened: After an employee was terminated, he claimed he never received his notice of COBRA eligibility. The company’s benefits manager said she sent the notification to the employee’s home address as soon as she heard of his termination. However, the employee claimed he no longer lived at that address, and that it was the company’s responsibility to verify his current address before mailing the notice.
Was the ex-employee correct?
The decision: No. A court ruled that the company did all it was required to do, which was send the notification to the man’s last known address. It was on the ex-employee to let the company know if he had moved, the court said.
Cite: Turner v. Adidas Promotional Retail Operations, Inc.
FMLA docs, COBRA notices: Are your policies legal?
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