- Drexel University did not interfere with an employee's rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act when it terminated her after she failed to submit the necessary forms to extend her leave (Watson v. Drexel University, No. 20-3001 (3rd Cir., Sept. 27, 2021)).
- The university approved the custodian's requests for FMLA leave after she disclosed an illness and applied for time off through the school's insurance carrier.
- The employee attempted to renew her leave, but she failed to submit the necessary medical documentation to support her request. This pattern continued. The custodian was able to renew her FMLA leave on several occasions, but other times, she failed to complete the required forms, according to court documents.
The FMLA involves two main sets of forms that accomplish two tasks: notice and certification.
The first of the two puts the onus on employers — the FMLA requires employers to provide employees with notices about the FMLA so both parties understand their rights, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. DOL provides several forms that satisfy its requirement.
The second set of forms transfers some responsibility to the employee. Some employers require workers to turn in documentation from a healthcare provider that certifies their need for leave to deal with a serious health condition or to care for a family member who is ill. Employers might also ask employees to certify military leave.
DOL provides several forms for both options. But employers must keep in mind that they are obligated to accept any complete and sufficient form of certification, according to DOL. An employer can't reject certification just because the employee didn't use the form the employer handed out.