Break the FMLA shield: Document when you began considering discipline.

Make sure you track exactly when you begin disciplinary action, especially when it comes to the FMLA.

Reason: It's not unusual for a worker facing an uncertain employment future to "check out" for a while on FMLA leave. Sometimes, she may even think taking FMLA leave will prevent serious discipline such as being terminated. She may believe the employer won't risk an FMLA retaliation lawsuit by firing her while she is on leave or right after coming back.

That strategy won't work if you can show the disciplinary process had already begun before she asked for FMLA leave.

Recent case: Lisa worked for the Franklin County Jail as a correctional officer. An inmate filed a complaint against her, alleging they had engaged in an inappropriate relationship. The county told Lisa it was launching an investigation. The next day, Lisa went out on FMLA leave for 30 days to deal with an alleged mental health issue.


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