What to do after an employee’s FMLA leave expires
Question: We have an employee who took 12 weeks of FMLA leave because of her own serious health condition. Her leave is now expired but she still isn’t able to return to work. Can we terminate her employment since she doesn’t have any FMLA leave left?
Answer: Not so fast! When an employee takes leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) for their own serious health condition, there are other issues to consider if the employee can’t return at the end of 12 weeks. Overlapping laws may prevent you from terminating the employee, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and state leave laws. Under the ADA, you may need to extend the employee’s leave as a reasonable accommodation if her serious health condition also qualifies as a disability. At the very least, you’ll need to have a conversation with the employee about possible accommodation ideas to make sure you’re engaging in the interactive process. Every situation is different when it comes to analyzing your obligations under the FMLA and ADA, so be sure to talk with your employment attorney before making any decisions.