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Chicago workers find boozy interpretation of FMLA

cruise ship

For many companies, confusion surrounds the federal Family and Medical Leave Act. What counts and what doesn’t? How can we make sure we are in compliance?

One thing is certain: Taking leave for fun in the sun doesn’t count.

But that’s what three workers for the City of Chicago did, according to media reports.

After telling their bosses they needed time off for medical leave, four 911 operators with the Office of Emergency Management were caught using their federally mandated sick days to vacation on Carnival cruise ships in the Caribbean.

“You look and you have a cluster of employees who are taking FMLA at exactly the same time this cruise is being conducted. That makes you say, ‘What is this about?” Inspector General Joseph Ferguson told Fox 32 in Chicago.

Investigators expanded their search for proof, checking spending and finding that the employees went horseback riding, used jet skis, and joined in a "booze cruise" while on vacation. One employee even submitted a doctor’s note to justify the days off, but the doctor told investigators he had no idea his patient would be going on a cruise, according to the news station.

Three employees were fired in February, and a fourth resigned, according to the news report.





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