Can an Employer Force an Employee to Take FMLA Leave?

An employer can force an employee to take leave under the Family Medical Leave Act, states the Spitz Law Firm. In a 2013 lawsuit, the Eighth Circuit of Appeals found in favor of an employer that forced an employee to get three doctors' clearances to work before terminating her.

The law also allows an employer to require employees to provide fit-for-duty documentation before returning to work after using family leave, Spitz Law Firm states.

The difficulty in arguing that involuntary FMLA leave is a violation of an employee's FMLA rights is that to argue the leave was involuntary and unnecessary means the employee was not eligible for FMLA in the first place; thus, the employee's job is not protected, according to Wolters Kluwer Law Firm.

Other potential legal arguments, such as discrimination on the basis of disability or other protected class, could provide an employee with recourse to forced FMLA leave, according to Spitz Law Firm.