Request for extended leave may raise disability issues
Q: Two days before an employee’s FMLA leave for her own serious health condition expired, she notified the company that she has a scheduled procedure in two weeks and that two weeks after that she could return to work. Can we terminate her at the expiration of her FMLA leave?
A: That approach would not be advisable. An employee whose leave under FMLA (or a state medical leave law) expires and is still unable to return to work may well have a disability for purposes of the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or state disability laws. The request for additional leave, therefore, should not be analyzed under leave laws alone, but also under state and federal disability law, to determine whether additional leave could be a reasonable accommodation that would enable the employee return and perform the essential functions of her job. To learn more about how to navigate this kind of situation, contact Vigilant..