From the Hotline: Work Restrictions After Leave

Question: Can you require employees to return to work from Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave without restrictions or terminate employment?

Answer: An employee seeking to return from Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave may return with or without restrictions. In returning an employee who may have work restrictions, an employer must then explore its obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This includes granting a reasonable accommodation, which can include modification of job duties or extension of leave.

There is not a set duration in which leave is granted that is reasonable, this is all determined by whether or not doing so will cause an undue hardship. An employer need not grant an indefinite leave; however, the employer cannot have an inflexible policy in which an employee who is not able to return by “x” date is automatically terminated.