Sheesh, as if administering the Family and Medical Leave Act isn’t complicated enough, here’s yet another legal wrinkle to consider.

I read a news brief on Business Management Daily that ran through the details of a case involving Sonia Figueroa, who worked as a housekeeper for an Embassy Suites hotel. Apparently, Figueroa missed quite a bit of work for various health reasons that was covered by FMLA as intermittent leave.

Her company’s HR department — trying to take the FMLA bull by the horns — sought to get out ahead of future intermittent leave requests by asking that Figueroa complete medical certification forms showing she had a “serious health condition” that required intermittent FMLA leave.

However, HR was asking for certification for leave that Figueroa hadn’t yet even requested. And that, folks, is where things got dicey.

Figueroa sued, alleging she’d been forced to take FMLA involuntarily and that by asking for medical certification, the HR department had interfered with her right to FMLA.

Lordy. This is just a giant Pandora’s box of benefits evils. The court hearing the case thought so too, because they opted not to rule at all on whether Figueroa had been forced into FMLA. Instead, according to BMD, the court only said that under the facts of the case, Figueroa had no FMLA interference suit because she was not unable to perform her job when told not to come to work.

What do you think? Was Figueroa forced to take FMLA involuntarily? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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