Can an employer suspend an employee pending FMLA?

UPDATED: Sep 26, 2016

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Can an employer suspend an employee pending FMLA?

My husband called in for two days of work because of a tragic family incident. He did notify his employer that he would be applying for FMLA for these absences. However, because they stated that he had

Asked on September 26, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Michigan


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

It was legal to suspend him pending FMLA approval if he'd had arguably excessive absences--the company could wait to make sure he'd be approved for FMLA for the most recent ones, taking them out of consideration as excessive absences, then reinstate him give him back pay for the suspension period so that, in a legal sense, he was "made whole" (paid everything he should have). If the FMLA leave were not approved, then they could have continued the suspension or even terminated him, since without that, he evidently would have had a problem with excessive absence.
Based on what you write, he was also not mistreated afterwards: if he had a long scheduled absence every weekend, the employer could schedule him for extra time (for which he'd be paid anyway, if he was hourly) to get his work done, and it's reasonable to deny requested days off if an employee seeks additional days off over and above the FMLA leave. All FMLA does is give you a right have a certain number of days in total off, unpaid, for certain medical or care related reasons; it does not otherwise deprive the employer of its right to manage shifts, work, schedules, etc., and does not guaranty that an employee can take additional days, over and above the FMLA days, when the employer needs him at work.

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