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R&R Insurance Blog

FMLA: Educating Your Managers On New FMLA Guidelines

Posted by Jane Shevey

family2Can you ensure your response to an employee’s request for Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is appropriate, consistent, and includes the appropriate certifications? Have you educated and informed your managers about their role and personal responsibilities in following FMLA guidelines?

Here are key elements of the Family Medical Leave Act that you and your managers should know:

  • The 3 Critical Areas Affected by the New FMLA Regulations
  • New Obligations for Military Leave Amendments
    1. Military Caregiver Leave: Clarifications to the Existing Leave
    2. Qualifying Exigency Leave: Understand the New Leave Provisions
    3. Non-Military Family and Medical Leave Issues Eligible Employees
  • Definition of a 'Serious Health Condition' under the New Provisions
  • Medical Certification Dos and Don'ts
  • Intermittent FMLA Compliance:
    • Who is Eligible?
    • What Employers Can Require?
    • Employer Rights
    • Recognizing FMLA-related Leave Requests
    • Lessons Learned from Court Cases
  • Handling the 'Bermuda Triangle' - the Interplay Between the ADA, FMLA, and Worker's Compensation
  • Curbing FMLA Abuse
    • What You Can - and Cannot Do - When Investigating Potential Abuses
    • Strategies to Minimize Abuse

Get the practical advice and compliance guidance you need to avoid mistakes and protect your company from FMLA lawsuits. Wisconsin companies looking for more information on the FMLA, please contact knowledgebroker Jane Shevey.

Topics: Employee Benefits, Liability, HR Compliance, ADA, and Worker's Compensation, Family Medical Leave Act, Jane Shevey, FMLA

Top Four Employee Retaliation Complaints | EPLI

Posted by the knowledge brokers

harrassmentEmployers have a 1 in 3 chance of being the target of an employment related action for every 100 employees. Private and small companies are even more vulnerable as many have less HR resources, think of themselves as “family”, and generally pay less attention to potential risk areas. In 2012 the EEOC received more complaints than any previous year. They have increased their budget by 20% to increase staff to handle the pure volume of complaints being filed. Regulators have become more aggressive in enforcement at both the federal and local level.

The top four complaints being filed against employers:

  1. Age related discrimination
  2. Retaliation (at an all-time high)
  3. Sexual Harassment (account for 25-30% of all complaints)
  4. Wage and Hour

It is important for employers to realize that the EEOC is looking at every charge for a pattern of behavior. A single complaint can easily balloon into a much bigger problem. Recently, St. Mary’s Hospital in Madison, WI agreed to settle a class action lawsuit alleging that the hospital failed to pay 1,400 nurses for meal breaks when they had to stay at the hospital on call.

In the broad context of wage and hour issues, allegations include misclassification of employees as exempt to avoid overtime pay (i.e. sales personnel), not paying for the time spent donning or removing of gear, booting up computers, preparing for the work day, etc.. and the use of mobile devices to access voice mail or email off hours without compensation. The 4th district Court Appeals ruled recently that Tyson Foods must pay back wages for the time spent putting on and taking off gear that can include hair nets, hard hats, shoe covers, safety glasses and frocks. The back wages could top more than $1 million.

Looking into the future, employers should be aware of the potential claims concerning obesity and corporate wellness programs. The American Medical Association recently classified obesity as a disease. Is this a precursor to becoming a protected class? The challenge for employers is being able to show that an applicant or employee cannot perform the job duties rather than the impact that an obese person can have on health insurance, sick time, and productivity. With regard to wellness programs employers are advised to be careful that individual’s privacy is protected, that they are not being judged /monitored and that employment decisions are not being influenced by an employee opting out of participation or following recommendations.

The average cost to defend against an employment action brought by a single plaintiff that is ultimately dismissed is $150,000. Costs for complex and class actions can skyrocket and have a huge financial impact to any employer regardless of industry. Employment Practices Liability insurance should be a part of the insurance program for all employers. Taking time to understand the policy, the obligations of both the employer and carrier, and what to do in the event of a claim is time well spent. Odds of becoming the target of an employment action are on the rise.

For more information about Employment Practices Liability Insurance for your Wisconsin company, contact a knowledgebroker.

Related topics:
Corporate wellness programs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Topics: Liability, Wellness, The top four complaints being filed against employ, EPLI, employee retaliation, St. Mary’s Hospital in Madison, Employment Practices Liability insurance, Business Insurance