Monday, December 3, 2007

Employment Law: Bizarre Behavior Triggering FMLA leave

Employment Law Lessons from HR Specialist writes about Employee's Bizarre Behavior Can Count as FMLA 'Notice' .

"Typically, employees must notify you if they have an FMLA-qualifying “serious” physical or mental condition. But what if the employee, herself, isn’t aware of this need? Is it up to you and your supervisors to recognize any behavior changes that may indicate the presence of a serious FMLA-qualifying condition? In cases of psychiatric problems it likely does, as the following case shows."
I found the following most interesting about this article:

3 Lessons Learned … Without Having to Go to Court

Observe Abrupt Changes in Behavior.

When a perfect employee with a perfect record has a sudden behavior change—sit up and take “notice” … literally. The court, in this case, is saying that counts as an employers’ constructive notice for FMLA leave. We are seeing these cases over and over—which means it is a trend.

Remember, FMLA is an Employee-Friendly Law. It was created to help employees balance health issues (for themselves and family) with their job. Don’t be so quick to dismiss an employee on a technicality.

Don’t ‘Psych Out’ an Employee. As the court pointed out, sometimes employees with psychiatric disorders don’t know they have a problem. This is a fundamental difference between mental and physical illness. Employees know when they have broken legs or symptoms of other problems, like blurry vision. But mental disorders cloud up the ability to think clearly, which is what the ability to ask for FMLA leave requires.

Besides some great advice, I think this is a prime example of what the Internet/blogs bring to the delivery of legal services and what clients are missing out on.