What To Do If My Employer Refuses to Give Me FMLA Papers

An employer is obligated to offer you FMLA papers to apply for leave and to provide you with the ability to meet the requirements of their program and the government standards. When an employer fails to tell you your rights or you fail to follow through on requirements, you may have an FMLA lawsuit.

Employers cannot interfere with your FMLA rights by miscounting your days worked or discouraging you from seeking your FMLA leave.How Does FMLA Work?

Quick List of FMLA Interferences

  • Talking an employee out of taking time off
  • Threatening an employee for seeking FMLA leave
  • Suggesting job loss if an employee takes FMLA leave
  • Promoting based on use of FMLA leave
  • Demanding more notice than FMLA standards
  • Denying FMLA leave that should have been granted
  • Requiring an employee to specifically ask for FMLA leave
  • Miscounting hours worked for FMLA eligibility

Employers are also required to give employees notice of their FMLA rights, whether this is a poster or a portion in the employee handbook. When an employee requests FMLA leave, the employer can ask for documentation of their need for FMLA leave.

What To Do If My Employer Refuses to Give Me FMLA Papers

Sometimes employers get in trouble for not recognizing an employee’s request for leave as a protected reason under FMLA. An employee does not specifically have to state their need for FMLA but only their covered reason. That is enough to trigger the protections by the law.

An employer can smooth the process by creating an FMLA check list, including necessary forms and certification requests.

FMLA Eligibility

To be eligible for FMLA leave, not only must the employee be eligible, but the employer must be eligible as well.

Step 1: Employers must have at least 50 employees to be obligated to offer FMLA protections.

Step 2: The employee must have worked for at least a year or 1,250 hours.

Step 3: Take leave for a covered reason.

  • New child care: birth, foster, adoption
  • Health conditions: employee’s or family member’s
  • Family member’s military deployment

Other Ways that FMLA Leave is Messed Up

Employers can violate FMLA rights of their employees in more ways than not recognizing the reason for the leave as triggering FMLA protections. An employer can mess with an employee’s FMLA rights during and after the leave has been taken. That is called FMLA interference. Therefore, employees should be aware of what their employee rights are.

Your Employer Should Not Pester You To Shorten Your FMLA Leave.

It’s acceptable for your employer to check in on you while you’re on leave and to ask about your plan to return to work. However, your employer should not ask you to return early or to work while you’re on leave. They should not be contacting you excessively.

Your Employer Should Not Cut Off Your Insurance.

Most employers withhold your insurance payment from your paycheck. During your unpaid FMLA leave, you will need to determine how you want to pay your portion of the insurance payment to continue your insurance through the company. Your employer should give you notice of how to pay your insurance premiums.

Your Employer Cannot Delay Your Return to Work.

When you notify your employer that you are returning to work with a notice of two days, your employer must place you in your old job immediately. Postponement of your return for the employer’s convenience is against the law.

Your Employer Cannot Place You in a Different Role.

When you return to work, your employer must place you in the role that you left. However, they can place you in a role that is considered equivalent to the one you left in tasks, pay, work, and benefits. It’s illegal for your employer to place you in a different job because they hired a replacement for your job while you were on leave.

Your Employer Cannot Withhold Benefits After You Return to Work.

While all your benefits, except your health insurance, may be paused while you’re on leave, those benefits must be reinstated as soon as you start work again. Your employer cannot require a waiting period or any other hurdle before reinstating benefits.

Your Employer Cannot Mislabel You as a “Key Employee.”

To deny an employee reinstatement, an employer may claim that the employee was a “key employee.” FMLA does allow for this category, but it’s a very narrow one. Your employer must inform you that you are a “key employee” before you take leave.

Your Employer Should Not Count Your Leave against You.

Employees sometimes deal with employers who consider leave as a break in attendance or don’t want to follow through on giving you an automatic bonus. This is illegal and against FMLA protections.


When an employer fails to uphold your FMLA protections, you should speak with an FMLA attorney about your options under the law.

Chat with an employment attorney: (412) 626-5626 or lawyer@lawkm.com.