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Important Ruling on Required FMLA Notices

Scott Leah, an attorney in Tucker Arensberg’s Pittsburgh office, recently circulated the below client alert:

Employers with more than 50 employees need to be aware of a recent ruling on FMLA notices, which employers are required to give to employees.

In Lupyan v. Corinthian Colleges, Inc., 761 F.3d 314 (3d. Cir. 2014), the employer mailed an FMLA notice to the employee, and later fired the employee for not returning to work after the expiration of her 12 weeks of FMLA leave. The employee claimed to have not been aware that her leave was being considered to be FMLA leave and the date that she was required to return to work.

The employee denied receiving the notice, and the employer could not prove that the employee received it. The Court ruled for the employee, noting that the employer could have sent the notice in a manner that would prove delivery (such as certified mail or FedEx), for little cost. The Court therefore ruled for the employee on her claim of interference with her FMLA rights.

While is it best to give FMLA notices personally to an employee, if they must be mailed, the wise course of action would be to do so by certified mail or FedEx.