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Method of notice important in FMLA cases

Fathers and mothers across the country want to spend time with their families and have a right to focus on home obligations as well as work. They also have a right to deal with medical needs as those occur. Fortunately, the federal Family and Medical Leave Act support fathers and mothers having all of these rights. However, proper procedures need to be followed. These include notification about taking leave being communicated in a way that avoids lawsuits.

For one part, this entails employees notifying employers about their intention to take leave: when, why and how much. For employees to protect themselves, they should do this in a verifiable way, such as by certified mail. That way, they have a record of having made the communication in the right way.

In turn, employees who need to take leave have a right to get communications from their employer that are also verifiable. According to court rulings, employers can no longer claim that they sent out required FMLA communications by U.S. Postal Service and have that be good enough. An employee who didn't get the communication can sue. Employers, like employees, need to have verification of FMLA-related communications.

For that reason, they too should send the communications via something like certified mail. This information is good for employees in leave-related cases to know, since it will allow them to challenge an employer who tries to say that they sent things regular mail and their obligations were fulfilled. Employees should know that if they didn't get the communication, they may have a legal case if their leave was denied. Of course, when pursuing a case it is critical to discuss the specifics with an experienced attorney.

Source: HR Morning, "Email’s not good enough for FMLA notices either, court rules" Christian Schappel, Oct. 24, 2014

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