Building the Business Case for Supervisor Training: You Can’t Afford Not To
By Marti Cardi, JD
VP, Product Compliance
Matrix Absence Management
At virtually every conference presentation by federal agency and industry experts, employers are advised to train supervisors on absence and accommodation laws, including the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Finding the time and budget to train those supervisors is a huge challenge for human resources (HR) departments. Upper management often doesn’t get it. And yet the cost of a single employee lawsuit dwarfs the cost of a comprehensive training program — including both hard dollars and personnel time.
So what does it take to convince upper management to make the investment in training?
Untrained Supervisors Drive Litigation Costs
Here are just a few ways that mistakes by untrained supervisors drive FMLA litigation:
- A supervisor tells his employee that she is not getting enough work done because she takes every Wednesday off as FMLA leave to care for her ailing father. He sighs and rolls his eyes every time she tells him she needs to take FMLA time. Then he writes his opinion in the employee’s performance review and downgrades her evaluation because of her missed work time.
- An employee tells his supervisor that he needs time off for urgent surgery and recovery. The supervisor denies the time off request because her department is already shorthanded and can’t spare the employee.
- An employee’s request for time off to make legal and financial arrangements necessitated by his wife’s military deployment is denied because the supervisor doesn’t recognize that this is a leave reason covered by the FMLA.
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