FMLA lnvestigations

In pursuit of truth

Investigating Family & Medical Leave claims with integrity and transparency

The Family & Medical Leave Act is supposed to be a piece of legislation that supports the American Workforce in difficult times. When an employee develops a serious health condition, or must take an extended leave of absence to care for a family member, or another qualifying reason, that employee can take FMLA leave in order to address the problem. FMLA leave is a counterweight that allows an employee to restore their work-life balance by giving them a chance to properly deal with these issues so they can eventually return to work in top performing condition. Whether it’s paid leave, unpaid leave, or intermittent FMLA leave, the law is supposed to protect the employee from losing their job.

FMLA investigations are often triggered by what should be defined as “reasonable suspicion,” in which an employer has good reason to believe their employee is fraudulently invoking FMLA leave in order to malinger. An employer may give their employee the benefit of the doubt, but if there is a suspicious pattern of FMLA leave, further investigation is warranted. When that reasonable expectation has been met, employers sometime bring in private investigators to find the facts in FMLA investigations.

How Lauth can help with your FMLA claim investigation

Surveillance

Lauth uses the latest in surveillance technology to bring certainty to FMLA investigations. Our investigators are comprised of former military and law enforcement professionals who are trained in proven surveillance methodology to capture unseen factors in FMLA investigations.

Background Checks

Lauth uses verified databases to secure a comprehensive background report on the relevant Subjects in the case. Lauth’s investigators are trained to view a person’s criminal, financial, address, and litigation history to identify significant risk factors and provide expert recommendations for our clients and their families.

Witness Location

Lauth investigators use a diverse experience in canvassing to locate and develop a rapport with witnesses with relevant information in the FMLA claim.

Evidence gathering

Combined with our surveillance technology to bring certainty to FMLA investigations, our investigators are highly trained in discreet evidence gathering to support their findings in the case.

Why clients need our services

A familiar scenario is one where an employee has been granted leave under FMLA for a serious illness or injury. The employer then happens to see posts from the employee on social media having fun out with friends, exercising, or driving. The employer might think, “If they’re well enough to do these things, they must be well enough to work.” While this might sound like an open and shut case from the employer’s point of view, Allen Smith of The Society of Human Resources Management, provides an example where this philosophy proved problematic:

“Joan Casciari, an attorney with Seyfarth Shaw in Chicago, said she handled a case that involved an employee who was put on FMLA leave for depression. The employer later discovered, through surveillance, she was doing Christmas shopping with her family and having a wonderful time. But her doctor confirmed “retail therapy” was consistent with her condition and the fact she could shop did not mean she did not require FMLA leave.”

Luckily for the employer in this anecdote, they did their due diligence and consulted a medical professional who could corroborate the circumstances of her FMLA qualifications. Some employers are far hastier. When employers do not conduct comprehensive and objective investigations into suspicious FMLA claims, they can open themselves up to lawsuits that can be devastatingly expensive and a public relations nightmare.

FMLA investigations can be an uncomfortable subject in internal corporate operations, for both an employer and an employee, particularly because  when the topic is culpability, there is an implicit level of distrust between employer and employee. This is why the threshold for a ‘reasonable suspicion’ of fraud must be heavily considered. However, once the employer determines that an employee might be  malingering on FMLA leave, contracting an independent private investigator to perform due-diligence is one of the best ways to ensure the investigation cannot be impeached at a later date. Internal investigators have an implicit bias towards the corporation, and therefore by definition cannot be completely objective.

Lauth Investigations International private investigators are highly adept at garnering verified intelligence and building comprehensive backgrounds in FMLA investigations. Private investigators, by virtue of their licensure, have access to verified databases similar to that of law enforcement, and cross-reference that information with multiple sources. We can identify the risks in a subject’s background that might shed crucial context in an FMLA investigation. Factors such as bad credit, litigative history, or transience within the context of the investigation could be indicators an employee could be abusing FMLA leave.

When gathering evidence of an employee’s FMLA abuse, discretion and anonymity are the highest priorities. Our private investigators are trained to move unseen while in the field and in sophisticated undercover investigations. Depending on the needs of your investigation, our private investigators can surveil the employee and determine if they are malingering during FMLA leave. We can identify witnesses who might have seen the employee acting incongruently with the circumstances of their FMLA leave. They can conduct surveillance and identify human sources by developing rapport with witnesses. Surveillance can provide important context in an FMLA investigation, and our private investigators are trained to record surveillance discreetly. We can document a subject’s movements during an FMLA investigation and provide this intelligence in a comprehensive report accompanied by expert recommendations. 

Should the results of an FMLA abuse investigation eventually trigger some form of litigation, Lauth private investigators are also highly adept at serving as expert witnesses in both civil and criminal court. At Lauth, our only loyalty is to the truth. Our independence and brand of integrity add an additional layer of objectivity to our testimony, ensuring that results of the investigation are not easily challenged by opposing counsel. Get context today with Lauth Investigations International.

Lauth’s FMLA abuse investigators are the multi-tool you need for your human resources department. Your corporation’s human resources department can be a catalyst for your business’s culture and success. These gatekeeping employees ensure that you’re hiring on the best of the best for your team, but anomalies can occur. When those anomalies occur, it’s important that you have an objective and independent FMLA investigator do the fact-finding. Internal investigators by their nature have a direct or indirect stake in the outcome of the investigation, which could then be called into question in court proceedings. Private investigators can also serve as credible witnesses in an FMLA fraud case, as they are not tied to either the business or the employee.

Relevant Case Studies

Relevant Blog Posts

Protecting Your Business from FMLA Fraud

Protecting Your Business from FMLA Fraud

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides working families balance to their lives when their circumstances take a turn. Whether it’s caring for new life in the household—such as a newborn or a foster child—or to care for an ailing relative, the 1993 act protects employees from being terminated from their jobs when they must take an extended absence for a specific set of reasons. However,...

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Additional Resources

SHRM.com

SHRM.com

How to Stop FMLA Abuse

Do some of your employees consistently fall ill just before or after the weekend? Here’s help.

Obtaining medical certifications and recertifications of serious health conditions and having carefully thought-out conversations with employees suspected of abusing Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) time off can help send fraudsters a message: The employer is monitoring them. The employer can’t interfere with legitimate FMLA leave, but it can strive to prevent the law from turning into the “Friday and Monday leave act.”

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