In recent years, the federal Department of Labor (DOL) has been focusing significant investigative efforts on employer’s system-wide practices regarding the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). System-wide practices are those that affect at least several employees or multiple employer locations. Such practices include:
- How an employer handles the administration of medical certification forms. For example, the DOL may look at whether the employer has a practice of requesting recertification of the need for leave more frequently than the FMLA permits.
- Whether an employer is timely providing employees who may be entitled to leave with the required Rights and Responsibilities, Eligibility and Designation Notices.
- Whether the employer properly exercises the right to require a fitness-for-duty note from employees’ health care providers.
- Whether front line supervisors and managers are adequately trained so that they can recognize whether an employee’s absences are possible due to a serious health condition or other FMLA-qualifying circumstance and timely start the notice procedures.
The DOL’s increased efforts should provide employers with the incentive to review and, if necessary, revise their FMLA policies and practices, paying particular care to the practices identified above.