When an employee takes FMLA, a key concern for the employer: How will the work get done? Here’s an example of a wrong way to solve the problem.
A full-time employee needed time off to care for her sick mother. So she started taking intermittent FMLA, working a reduced number of hours each week.
However, while she was given the time off, none of her duties were taken away. She was fired because she wasn’t able to get everything done. She sued.
The company argued it had no other choice, because there was still work. But the court ruled in her favor, saying the FMLA leave she was offered was “illusory.”
In other words, leave isn’t leave if you’re still expected to do all the work.
It isn’t always easy keeping things running when employees take leave, but as this case shows, some methods of getting around that fact will hurt more in the long run.
Some legal ways of making sure the job gets done when someone’s on leave:
- Shift duties to the rest of the people in the department
- Hire part-time help until he or she gets back, and
- Temporarily move the employee to a part-time position, while putting someone else into his or her normal spot.
Cite: Lewis v. School District #70