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How to Avoid a Costly Leave of Absence Mistake
HR Stories From The Front Lines*
Managing an employee’s leave of absence can be very tricky – especially when it spans several months. While you may be tempted to “cut ties” with an employee on extended leave, don’t make that move without reading this
cautionary tale.*Read more (Opens in a new window)
(*These incidents really happened; but names and other details have been changed.)
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Do you have an HR question keeping you up at night?
The following question was submitted to our HR Professionals in the past month …
I have an employee who faxed over a doctor’s note taking her out of work for a month. She is due back on 1/17/19, however she was only mailed the Notice of Eligibility and Rights and Responsibility notifications. Would it be too late to send out a Designation Notice? I am concerned she may not be counting this time off towards her FMLA leave since we never designated it.
Question #2 We have a foreman whose job performance has declined over the past several months. We have spoken to him several times about his recent job performance problems, but this employee has not shown any improvement. While we are not at the point where we are looking to terminate this employee, we are looking for suggestions on how to best proceed to address this situation.
Consider the following situation: You hired Roberta in September. She seemed fine during the interview…just a little nervous. She was the best candidate interviewed, so you extended her an offer of employment.
After she was hired, you discovered that Roberta is a slow learner (and you suspect that she might have a learning disability). She also has a difficult time receiving criticism.
Now, four months into her employment, Roberta has been having what appear to be panic attacks. You have moved her to several different positions. Unfortunately, her panic attacks have continued and hinder her ability to interact with the public, which is an essential function of her job.
While you’re always willing to give an employee a chance, you really don’t think Roberta is going to improve. You would like to terminate her; after all, she’s an at-will employee.
Is termination the best option?
Absolutely; though you feel sorry for Roberta, you need people who can work, and you don’t have time to babysit her.
Maybe; since Roberta has not told you she has a disability or needs an accommodation, you do not have to worry about potential disability discrimination.
Yes; if Roberta had some type of physical condition or disability, you understand you’d have to accommodate her, but you cannot accommodate a mental problem.
No, or at least not yet. You need to learn more about Roberta’s condition before making any decisions.