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Dealing with FMLA notification procedures

The Family and Medical Leave Act entitles workers to certain rights when they are granted intermittent leave that employers in New York are obligated to respect. The law also holds employees to certain responsibilities regarding their use of FMLA leave that they must respect as well. These guidelines are important for employees to be aware of because they could affect their access to FMLA leave.

The most important aspect of any intermittent leave is that employees follow their employer's call-in or notification policies. This usually prevents them from leaving without notice or not showing up when they are expected and giving an employer no warning. For example, the employer may require that the employee call one or multiple specific lines to notify the employer of their absence. They may also have a timeline for doing this, such as 30 minutes to an hour before they are expected at work. The requirement that employees follow these procedures consistently has been upheld in court precedents and is often grounds for termination of FMLA benefits.

There are still some gray areas in the law. For one, an employee does not need to provide notification if they can prove that unusual circumstances prevented them from doing so. The definition of this is very broad, and it is usually decided on a case-by-case basis. Employers may also be in trouble if they do not clearly define their policy or instruct employees on how to follow it.

An employee who is denied FMLA or disciplined for not following procedures may have grounds for an employment discrimination lawsuit. An attorney may be able to help a client understand how the particulars of their case are discriminatory and help them understand their employer's responsibilities. Since some areas of the law are still open to argument or interpretation, a case of FMLA violation is not always clear. An attorney may be able to supply a valid argument for the reinstatement of benefits.

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