Program Showcase: Correspondence & Compliance

DMEC Staff@Work

Building a Paper Trail: Leave & Disability Administration Correspondence

Correspondence & ComplianceBy Sheri Pullen

Compliance Analyst

Employee notifications and correspondence are a critical piece of any successful leave and disability administration program. In addition to apprising an employee of key steps needed to move forward with a leave request, notifications and their content serve a broader purpose — building a paper trail.

When everything goes favorably with a leave of absence, notifications aren’t given a second thought. The employee requests a leave, and in a timely manner, submits supporting documentation; the leave is approved, and ultimately, the employee is reinstated to his or her job. In these scenarios, many employees barely read the notifications they receive.

All of that changes if an employer denies a leave request, or worse, terminates the employee. In these cases, most employees apply a greater level of scrutiny when reviewing notifications. If employers don’t have their ducks in a row and neglected to send a letter, or even just excluded one required paragraph, that can spell big trouble, especially if the employee files a lawsuit.

Consider Dusik v. Lutheran Child & Family Servs. of Illinois, in which a federal district court in Wisconsin rejected the employer’s motion to dismiss an employee’s claims of FMLA interference and retaliation based largely on the alleged lack of required employee notifications.

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