Investigating FMLA abuse can be very rewarding or very frustrating and there is usually no in-between. You review the employee’s absences, determine that there is a pattern, talk with their manager, talk with their HR rep, comb through their past FMLA certification forms and medical documentation, talk with the employee, ask for recertification, and even hired a private investigator to monitor their activity when they use their FMLA. But, unfortunately, you are unable to “catch” them doing any wrong.
But you just know that they are taking advantage of their FMLA somehow. You just can’t prove it.
So, what do you do?
Unfortunately, the answer is that you have to let it go. Once you’ve gone through all the appropriate steps, the employee is probably aware that you’re questioning their leave. Pushing any further could start to look like harassment or interference.
But you can pick it back up when it’s time for them to recertify their leave (usually once a year) and go through some of the steps again.
Here’s the truth about addressing FMLA abuse . . . you will succeed in finding a solution 75% of the time. Sometimes you’ll find other work schedules that you and the employee agree upon that reduces their absences. Or you may be able to get clarifying documents from their doctor about why their absence pattern is in line with their health condition. And sometimes you’ll catch them outright abusing their leave. All those situations allow you to cross the leave of absence off your “suspected abuse” list.
But there will be some that you can’t solve.
We hope you enjoyed reading our article on FMLA Abuse Part 6: When You Cannot Prove FMLA Abuse.
Leave Solutions is based in Milwaukee, WI and helps employers with their FMLA and leave of absence processes from a Human Resources perspective.
Contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions on proving FMLA abuse or other topics.