"Simple" FMLA Rule Leaves Employer Simply Confused
Texas Judge Finds Days between Rehab Stays May Qualify as FMLA Leave
According to Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) regulations, "FMLA leave may only be taken for treatment for substance abuse... On the other hand, absence because of the employee's use of the substance, rather than for treatment, does not qualify for FMLA leave."
While this rule seems clear in theory, a recent case demonstrated that it's not so clear in real life. The case involved an employee who used FMLA leave to enter rehab once for initial treatment and two more times due to relapses. The question was whether the periods between rehab stays were covered under the FMLA.
- JCI should not have assumed that only the days the employee spent in rehab were FMLA-protected, because some of the days between rehab stays may have also been protected;
- JCI gave the employee reason to believe that he had been approved for FMLA leave for a period of twelve consecutive weeks but fired him for absences occurring within that time;
- JCI failed to warn the employee of the consequences of not furnishing adequate medical certification of his serious health condition; and
- The employee's request for medical leave to go into rehab may have constituted a request for a reasonable accommodation for a disability under the ADA.
Tags: FMLA, ADA