Direct Manager Involvement: The Second of Five Common FMLA Mistakes
An employee’s manager becoming involved in an FMLA situation can be liability for an employer.
Handling FMLA cases involves a set of complicated regulations that, if not followed properly, can lead to very serious consequences. When an employee’s manager is involved in FMLA proceedings the employer dramatically increases the risk of being out of compliance. Direct manager involvement in FMLA claims or case management isn’t expressly against the regulations. However, where employers fall short is when there is direct contact between a manager and their employee’s healthcare provider which is forbidden under the privacy regulations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). If a manager were to request details on an employee’s health history in an FMLA case it could result in massive legal trouble for the employer.
The other most common mistake with direct manager involvement are cases where the manager or supervisor uses the knowledge gained from the FMLA claim and personal health information (PHI) against the employee. Retaliation is one of the leading reasons employers lose lawsuits brought by employees. The DOL states “An employer is prohibited from interfering with, restraining, or denying the exercise of, or the attempt to exercise, any FMLA right. An employer is prohibited from discriminating or retaliating against an employee or prospective employee for having exercised or attempted to exercise any FMLA right.” Without specific knowledge of the details of the FMLA claim, managers are unable make stray comments to the employee or to other employees.
At BASIC, our solution is to provide a dashboard that allows managers to see FMLA approvals and denials without being shown any information on an employee’s or family member’s medical condition or history. By only making approvals and denials accessible, we keep managers from being able to involve themselves in FMLA cases at all. FMLA administration can be much easier than it’s ever been with the help of BASIC. Our solutions prevent mistakes, reduce risks, and keep your business running smoothly.
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