What Happens When You Take FMLA Leave? 

The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows you to take time off from your job to take care of your own illness or a family member’s illness or to welcome your newborn into the world by bonding with them. When an employee makes use of the FMLA, and they resume working, it can be difficult to make the transition back. However, it’s important to be mindful of possible violations of your rights upon your return. Read on to learn about your rights when you go back to your job after taking FMLA leave.

Communication Between Your Provider and Your Employer

Because the FMLA allows you to take time off to care of your own serious health condition, (in addition to caring for a family member with a serious illness or taking care of your newborn) you may wonder about your employer talking to your physician or other health care provider to verify your condition. 

Government regulations make it clear that any contact between an employer and an employee’s health care provider must comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) privacy regulations. 

Under the regulations, employers are allowed to contact an employee’s health care provider for authentication or clarification of the medical certification by using the following:

  • A health care provider
  • A human resource professional
  • A leave administrator
  • A management official

However, the regulations don’t allow the employee’s direct supervisor to contact that employee’s health care provider due to privacy concerns. The only way that an employee’s health care provider can supply health information to the employer is if the employee gives the provider written authorization to disclose. 

What Should Happen When You Return from FMLA Leave?

Coming back to work from any absence can take some getting used to and can be a difficult transition. Here are some acceptable things that may happen when you return to help you get back on track after taking the leave:

  • Meetings with supervisors and colleagues
  • Explanation of what occurred during your absence
  • Slowly getting back to taking over your duties

What Should Not Happen When You Return from FMLA Leave?

Besides the normal things that can happen upon your return, there are activities and responses that aren’t allowed under employment law. Some examples of FMLA violations that may occur include the following: 

  • Losing your benefits
  • Being put in a lower-paying position or demotion
  • Being harassed due to taking the leave
  • Experiencing retaliatory acts, including receiving a negative work performance evaluation due to taking the FMLA leave
  • Being subjected to intrusive inquires and inappropriate questions about your leave

Assert your Rights After FMLA Leave 

Regardless of the reason for taking job-protected leave, you should be able to use it knowing that you can concentrate on the issue at hand, whether it’s to bond with your newborn or to take care of your relative’s medical issue or deal with your own medical condition. If your employer interferes, be aware of the ways that you can assert your rights. An attorney familiar with employment issues can stand with you and help ensure that your rights are protected. Get in touch with a MOWK Law attorney. Contact us right away to learn more.