In the realm of employment, the Family and Medical Leave Act serves as an important safeguard for workers facing health challenges or family-related issues.
This federal law allows eligible employees to take unpaid leave while protecting their job security. However, despite its clear provisions, some employers inadvertently or intentionally violate FMLA rights.
1. Insufficient communication
One prevalent violation occurs when employers fail to communicate effectively about FMLA policies. Some companies neglect to inform their employees about their rights under the act, leaving workers unaware of the support available to them. This lack of communication can lead to misunderstandings and missed opportunities for employees to take advantage of the protected leave.
2. Inadequate recordkeeping
Another violation stems from inadequate recordkeeping. Employers must maintain accurate records related to FMLA requests, approvals and denials. Failure to do so can result in confusion and disputes, as employees may not have proper documentation to support their leave requests.
3. Retaliation for taking FMLA leave
Some employers, knowingly or unknowingly, engage in retaliation against employees who exercise their FMLA rights. Retaliation may manifest as adverse actions, such as demotions, reduced hours or negative performance evaluations, aimed at discouraging employees from taking protected leave. This contravenes the spirit of the FMLA.
4. Improper certification requests
Employers occasionally overstep their bounds by making improper demands for medical certification. While the FMLA permits employers to request medical documentation, they must do so within reasonable bounds. Unreasonable or intrusive requests for information about an employee’s medical condition may violate privacy rights and the limitations set forth by the FMLA.
In FY2023, the U.S. Department of Labor had 334 FMLA compliance violations, resulting in $987,782 in back pay for 395 employees. Understanding the ways employers may violate the FMLA is important for both employers and employees.