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Date March 5, 2012!!
Hello My friend,
Well here we are facing a new year of opportunities and challenges in the workplace. My heartfelt prayer to GOD ALMIGHTY is that each of you and your families prosper and are granted good health. Yvonne (my wife ;0) and I thank you for continuing to support Basic Employee Rights eNEWs. There are many new changes that will be affecting the workplace in 2012. I will continue to research and share how those changes will affect you.
So let's get to it!
Your Boss Can't Force A Second FMLA Opinion?
Here's the scenario, your boss says, "Suzie Q we need to send you to our physician to verify you are fit to return to work from FMLA. It's on us we are paying for it. We just want to make sure you're alright and able to perform your job." Your first response should be, "Are you permitted to send me to another physician for a second fitness-for-duty-certification?"
Your awareness of the process may surprise your employer. If he says yes, here is what FMLA has to say about it. The answer is NO! The FMLA does not allow your employer to ask for, demand or require any subsequent second or third opinions to determine an employee's ability to perform the essential functions of her job. The initial official certification from your medical care professional complies with the requirements of the fitness-for-duty documentation required by your boss.
To comply with FMLA employees are eligible to be restored to the original or similar position after coming back from leave. Having said that, the FMLA will not require your boss to restore your job if you are incapable of performing all the essential functions of the position. This applies to the specific position held prior to returning from leave.
The following is a pre-requisite for reinstating a worker taking FMLA leave who had a severe health condition rendering him or her incapable of performing the job. The employer must have a consistently applied policy requiring every equally positioned employee taking leave for similar medical conditions to get fitness-for-duty certification from their health care provider verifying the employee is ready to resume work.
As an employee you are required to participate and cooperate in the fitness-for-duty qualification procedure. This includes furnishing an extensive and satisfactory certification to your employer. Your boss may want your health care professional to give the information and facts directly to the company.
Our employers are limited in what they can find out in a fitness-for-duty certification. They can't go on a "fishing expedition" of your medical history. Your employer can only get information regarding the specific health problem which prompted the individual's need to take the FMLA leave. The certification from the worker's health care giver will have to state that he is capable of returning to work.
Your boss can demand the documentation precisely deal with your capability to perform the essential functions of the job. To get this certification from your doctor your boss must give you a checklist of the essential functions of the job. This document must also signify in the designation notice that the certification has to deal with the workers capacity to execute the necessary job functions. When your employer satisfies these conditions your physician must certify you can perform the same job duties the specific health problem prevented.
Your boss can choose to get in touch with your doctor to clarifying and confirm your fitness-for-duty certification. This conformation can only inquire about the serious health condition that triggered the FMLA leave. Your boss can't prevent you from going back to work while he gets clarification from your doctor.
The FMLA also prevents employers from obtaining fitness-for-duty certification when an individual returns to the job after taking intermittent leave. Employers don't like this because they believe it creates a workplace safety issue. Under the Family Medical Leave Act workers have to take fitness-for-duty certifications from THEIR OWN health care providers if the employer requests it when they return from FMLA leave. Your boss CAN NOT force you to get FMLA certification from a health care provider they choose or a second or third opinion.
Until next time as always.....
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Written by Yancey Thomas Jr.
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