VanAntwerp Attorneys, LLP
Phone: 606-618-0698

The challenges businesses face in a changing national landscape

While helpful in promoting goods and services, social media has also been the bane of many a business, especially when customers and ex-staff members leave negative reviews on a Facebook page or Twitter feed.

However, maintaining an online presence can also provide employers a window into their employees’ lives, if not their character when it comes to being honest and forthright.

An employee taking FMLA leave to repair an injury that prevents them from working should know to tread carefully, especially if additional time is needed because of a doctor’s recommendation. Even in waning days of the formal FMLA leave and the “bonus” time to continue recovery, the story they share online should be not only truthful, but also consistent with the tale they tell their employer.

Yet, some social media enthusiasts cannot help themselves. They strive to portray life in the best possible light with countless pictures that show a vacation of luxury and thrills. The posts often garner countless “likes” from friends and followers.

However, a severe “dislike” could come from their employer who presumed they were recuperating. While leveling immediate accusations followed by severe punishment may bring a sense of justice, a business must tread carefully in building a case of FMLA abuse.

Employers should resist the rush to judgment. One Facebook post or Tweet may not be enough evidence. Conducting an initial and complete investigation can provide the facts necessary to prove abuse. Once the employee returns to work, employers should choose confirmation of their evidence over confrontation and finger pointing.

Proper steps should be taken to confirm the following:

  • The employee required additional leave due to an inability to perform the job
  • The extent of the injuries prevented them from handling day-to-day tasks.
  • Understanding of the FMLA policy, specifically the punishment for fraudulent use of leave
  • The employee remained in the local area during FMLA and non-FMLA leave

Upon establishing those parameters, employers can then inform the employee that they have information that their version of recuperating was actually fun in the sun. Backing up those claims with evidence represents a strong foundation towards an FMLA abuse claim, even if the employee disputes it.

The Family Medical Leave Act is complex law. When suspected FMLA abuses occur, a pursuit of the truth should be handled judiciously with the help of a skilled employment law attorney. Contact VanAntwerp Attorneys, LLP, at 606-618-0698.

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