Employers have a duty to inform workers about Medical Leave request’s deficiencies.
The Third Circuit (PA, NJ, and DE) recently ruled that Employers cannot deny a request for medical leave under FMLA if the request is not complete or insufficient to be reviewed. Instead, the employer has a duty to inform the employee their request is insufficient and give them the chance to correct it. In Hansler v. Lehigh Valley Hosp. Network, No. 14-1772, 2015 WL 4925819 (3d Cir. Aug. 19, 2015) the Third Circuit ruled that the employee’s FMLA request was “insufficient” and she should have gotten the chance to fix the request within seven (7) days. Instead the employer simply denied the request with no further review into the request, and never gave notice to the employee until her termination for taking time off for her undiagnosed medical condition.
The regulations surrounding these type of requests never allow for a request to be incomplete, essentially meaning there is no official request by the employee until there is a completed submitted request. This ruling protects employees who are facing a potentially new and undiagnosed condition, or anyone who does not submit a completed form. This ruling offers increases employers’ duties in regards to improper leave requests.