Can anyone tell me if these should be filed in the main personnel file for the employee or in the medical file? Or should there be a separate FMLA file?
From my understanding, FMLA forms should never be kept in the personnel file itself. We have a separate binder for FMLA and everything pertaining to FMLA is kept in there, it's just so much easier to have a centralized place to keep FMLA for all employees.
FMLA forms and documentation should never be put in the personnel record. Our office files FMLA forms in the employee's medical record which are kept in a separate locked cabinet away from the personnel files since they contain PHI.
I honestly don't believe that putting them altogether in one binder is a good idea either. If an authorized person is looking for one specific employee's FMLA forms, there is potential to reveal unauthorized access to PHI on other employees that could open the door for trouble.
ADA specifically prohibits storing medical information in employee files. What constitutes "medical information" can get pretty hazy. Is a request for FMLA leave always medical information within the meaning of the statute? If you are self-insured or an insurance company, HIPAA also applies.
To avoid having any big decisions made in filing anything, most people simply file all FMLA stuff in the medical file.