It’s popular today to bash the big bad government bureaucracy. Whether or not you agree with the bashing, the US Dept of Labor has recently published this admittedly helpful “Employer’s Guide to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)“. It’s chock full of useful examples based upon hypothetical yet frequently encountered situations.
Those of you who handle FMLA matters know that it can be a paper-intensive undertaking. You’ve probably grown accustomed to sending Notices of Eligibility, medical certification, and Designation Notices by US postal mail. Unfortunately, not every federal district or appellate court thinks that’s good enough.
In Lupyan v. Corinthian Colleges, the appellate court chided that “in this age of computerized communications and handheld devices, it is certainly not expecting too much to require businesses that wish to avoid a material dispute about the receipt of a letter to use some form of mailing that includes verifiable receipt when mailing something as important as a legally mandated notice.”
So, how about you send it via email? Nope, not good enough either. In Gardner v. Detroit Entertainment, the district court took it on face value that if the recipient says she didn’t get the email, then unless you can prove she not only got it but opened it and read it, then that’s that.
But it’s expensive to use US Priority Mail, FedEx, UPS, or some other delivery service that gives you a tracking number and proof that the delivery was signed for, right? Yep, good thing Corinthian College and Detroit Entertainment avoided spending $5-10. Because heaven knows defending a FMLA lawsuit in federal court costs much less than $5-10
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