In Pande v. Chevron, Corp., No. C 04-5107 CW, 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 3247 (N.D.Cal. Jan. 17, 2007), Chevron policy required an employee on FMLA leave to furnish the FMLA Unit with periodic reports every 30 days of employee's status and intent to return to work. Ms. Dunn alleged that the FMLA prohibits an across-the-board policy requiring her to submit periodic status reports every thirty days. The court disagreed. Section 825.309(a) of the DOL FMLA regulations provides:
An employer may require an employee on FMLA leave to report periodically on the employee's status and intent to return to work.
The Court found that Chevron's policy did not violate the FMLA.
Comment: The decision is noteworthy in that the FMLA does not define with what regularity an employer may require an employee to report "periodically." It does, however, require that an employer's policy:
[M]ay not be discriminatory and must take into account all of the relevant facts and circumstances related to the individual employee's leave situation.
29 CFR 825.309(a); 5 CFR 630.1208(j).
Here, it is unclear how the Court approved of Chevron's blanket policy mandating such reports every 30 days. Chevron's policy, which does not take into account the circumstances related to the individual employee's leave situation, does not appear to fit within the periodic status report requirements of the FMLA.
To remain within the requirements of the FMLA, employers would be well advised not to have a blanket policy mandating periodic status reports at specified intervals (e.g., every 30 days) regardless of the facts of any given case. Periodic report policies must take into account the facts of each case. It may be that in most cases requiring a report every 30 days is permissible. You want to be in the position, however, to say that every request for a periodic status report was evaluated on its merits.