The Mailbag.

AuthorDavenport, Anniken

FMLA to care for overseas parent when certification is in doubt?Q An employee has asked for FMLA leave to care for a parent who lives in a foreign country. The employee says it may be difficult to obtain a medical certification form documenting the parent's serious health condition. Must the employee provide certification in order to be granted FMLA leave?A. Yes. If you require an FMLA certification for other employees who need to care for a parent in the United States, you can also require a certification from an employee who wants to care for a parent in a foreign country.According to the Department of Labor, "If the employee or the employee's family member is visiting another country, or a family member resides in another country, and a serious health condition develops, the employer must accept a medical certification, including second and third opinions, from a health care provider who practices in that country. If a medical certification by a foreign health care provider is not in English, the employee may be required to provide a written translation of the certification."In other words, you can insist on a certification from a foreign healthcare provider, and it is the employee's responsibility to provide one, along with a translation if necessary.No FMLA left, employee may be disabled: Can we legally fire?Q Can we legally terminate an employee who has run out of FMLA leave but who has presented medical documentation of a disability? It looks like she needs accommodations we simply cannot provide.A. Employers faced with an employee who can't return to work after FMLA leave should consider whether the employee might be disabled and thus be entitled to reasonable accommodations. Handle this just as you would any other ADA...

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