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Jul12

Attendance Management

We are a medical practice with five locations, all locations are within 35 miles from each other. If an employee from one office is out on FMLA leave can we hire a replacement for this location if when the employee returns we provide the same duties, responsibilites and pay but she would be at a different office. Would this be a violation of FMLA?

Yes, this would probably be a violation of FMLA. The employee must be returned to the same working conditions, benefits, hours, pay, etc. as before she went on FMLA. In this case, being sent to a different location is not the same working conditions.

If one of your locations closed permanently while an employee was on FMLA, you would be justified in reassigning her to a new location. But that is not the case here — all of your locations are still open, so the employee on FMLA must be sent back to her original job.

The solution here is simple. When you hire a replacement for an employee on FMLA, you need to make it clear that she will probably be transferred to a new location in a few months. When the employee returns from FMLA, her replacement is the one who should be sent to a different location.

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