August 2016 Archives

Notice of an Employee's Rights under FMLA Must Include Job Protection Rights

A recent decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit highlights the importance of proper notice to employees of their rights and responsibilities under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). (Vannoy v. Fed. Reserve Bank of Richmond, 4th Cir., No. 14-2375 (6/28/16)). In that case, the plaintiff, who suffered from major depression and alcohol dependency, sought medical leave from his employer under the FMLA to attend an in-patient treatment program. While the employer granted the leave, its notice to the plaintiff of his rights and responsibilities lacked a critical component: information concerning job protection rights.

Employers Must Diligently Investigate Reports of Employee Misconduct

Imagine you receive an email from a customer stating that one of your employees engaged in serious misconduct. However, it's not clear from the email whether the customer is merely disgruntled at your company's service, or if your employee indeed engaged in wrongdoing. Your first instinct would be to open your investigation by asking the employee about the customer's email. This is a good start, especially because the email is vague and lacks details, but you cannot end there. The Rhode Island Supreme Court recently reminded employers that they often must go one step further by asking the complaining customer for more details, especially in cases where the allegations are vague or unclear. 

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