Friday, August 10, 2007

You might want to double-check those FMLA medical certifications

Check out this article from the Chicago Sun Times. On (and other websites like it) employees can purchase authentic looking doctors notes to excuse their absences from work. According to a testimonial on the website: "I've managed to take the 9 weeks off using these templates! It couldn't be any easier!" Needless to say, providing a fake document for any reason is grounds for immediate termination. However, consider the overburdened HR professional, confused already by the FMLA's myriad requirements. Does that person have the time to check the veracity of each and every note provided by an employee? Nevertheless, the next time you think an employee might by trying to game the system, you might want to take a harder look at that doctor's note. Under the FMLA employers have options to check the veracity of an employee's serious health condition:
  • Grant provisional leave until you resolve any doubts about the validity of the serious health condition.
  • Send the employee for a 2nd opinion at the employer's expense.
  • Request recertification during the leave under certain circumstances.
  • Require a fitness for duty exam before allowing the employee to return to work.
These tools, when used consistently, properly, and dovetailed with appropriate corrective action, can deter employees' frauds such as