• FreeAdvice has a new Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, effective May 25, 2018.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our Terms of Service and use of cookies.

Is FMLA abuse a criminal act?

Accident - Bankruptcy - Criminal Law / DUI - Business - Consumer - Employment - Family - Immigration - Real Estate - Tax - Traffic - Wills   Please click a topic or scroll down for more.

chaitsoderling

New member
What is the name of your state? OREGON

I took FMLA leave to care for my sick family member. My family member scheduled travel date to my home town on the first day of my authorized FMLA leave. But at the airport his health got deteriorated and stopped his plans of travelling. But my FMLA leave is already started.

Now, I am providing care for my family member from my remote location like arranging his medical appointments, talking to his physician, and monitoring his treatment instead of physically helping him with his day to day activities. Since, my family member is not geographically located at my current location and I am still on FMLA leave, I am afraid, if this is considered as a violation of FMLA act?

If my employer gets to know about it, apart from terminating my job, will they prosecute any criminal charges against me for violating FMLA act? Like is this violation is called as a Misdeamenor or a Felony?
 


quincy

Senior Member
Based strictly on what you have said here, you potentially could be fired, but you won't be charged with a crime for abuse of an FMLA leave.

A criminal charge could be possible under some circumstances that don't seem to apply to you (for example, forging medical documents to support a leave - but the charge would be for forgery, not for FMLA abuse).
 
Last edited:

Taxing Matters

Overtaxed Member
If my employer gets to know about it, apart from terminating my job, will they prosecute any criminal charges against me for violating FMLA act? Like is this violation is called as a Misdeamenor or a Felony?

The FMLA has no criminal provisions. But the employer certainly may fire you for misleading the employer about your qualification for the leave. You might also owe the employer back for benefits the employer paid for you while you were on FMLA leave that you were not entitled to take.

Whether there is any crime here would depend on whether what you did violated a criminal law that is not specific to FMLA. For example, if you are a government employee and abused your leave by taking FMLA that you were not entitled to take there may be a criminal statute for that.
 

commentator

Senior Member
"For example, if you are a government employee and abused your leave by taking FMLA that you were not entitled to take there may be a criminal statute for that."

From what I have seen, there isn't one, at least not for state employment. Heaven knows I've seen some pretty blatant abuse of FMLA in my time.

What I would strongly suggest to this OP is that you return to work asap, There's nothing that says that having been granted the FMLA, you can't come back to work before it's fully used up. Just tell them the situation worked out better than you expected, you have your relative's care set up now, and don't say anything more about it. Your continued use of the FMLA when you could be back to work and need to be is what is going to be a problem. What if, at some later point in the year, your family member becomes much more in need of your help, or you yourself or another family member should become ill and you've already used up all your FMLA? You could end up terminated for those reasons, without the protection of the FMLA that you used up when you didn't really need it.

And if you don't want to be fired from your job, for heaven's sake, DO NOT brag about, laugh about, or share about anything about what has happened to you while you were out with anyone who works with you. That's how the employer finds out about it and might become upset with you. Repeated complaints from co workers to your employer that you took advantage of FMLA when you turned out not to really need it is not going to make them think any more highly of you.
 

quincy

Senior Member
It sounds like chaitsoderling continues to care for the sick relative - just not with in-person care. Whether this remote care is a violation of the FMLA, an unnecessary leave, is a bit of a question mark.

I am curious why chaitsoderling cannot travel to where the ailing relative is located since the ailing relative cannot travel to chaitsoderling (although I can think of several reasons why this might not be possible).

But there is no criminal offense in what has been described, only a possible fireable offense.
 

Taxing Matters

Overtaxed Member
"For example, if you are a government employee and abused your leave by taking FMLA that you were not entitled to take there may be a criminal statute for that."

From what I have seen, there isn't one, at least not for state employment. Heaven knows I've seen some pretty blatant abuse of FMLA in my time.
It depends on the circumstances and, of course, the state (if the person is a state employee). Even if it might not be a problem in your state, it could be in others. And, of course, it depends on the attitude of the particular agency in question. For example, in the federal government an employee who falsifies a leave request (not just FMLA, but any leave request) could be criminally prosecuted if the agency wanted and could get DOJ to go along. But the agency could also choose other remedies. It could just fire the employee. Or, in the case of FMLA abuse, the agency might instead require the employee to substitute annual leave (if he or she has it) for the FMLA leave he or she took.
 

chaitsoderling

New member
Thank you all for your inputs. I just called my agency and explained the situation. And the agency informed me that Doctor approved the leave and they don't track how I use it. They said its it's just upto me. And I asked them to cancel the remaining fmla timeoff, so that I can return back to work. Thank you one and all for the inputs.
 

quincy

Senior Member
Thank you all for your inputs. I just called my agency and explained the situation. And the agency informed me that Doctor approved the leave and they don't track how I use it. They said its it's just upto me. And I asked them to cancel the remaining fmla timeoff, so that I can return back to work. Thank you one and all for the inputs.
We appreciate the update, chaitsoderling, and we all appreciate the thanks. Thanks for both.
 

Sponsored Ad

Top