Family and Medical Leave Act - Insights Needed

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Nov 16, 2011
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I work for a large, well-known residential and commercial security company in their contact center, have been with the company for over five years. I have an FMLA claim to take care of a dependent, under 18 child with serious health conditions for which I'm entitled to "intermittently" take three days off a week for flare-ups on top of one day a month for appointments, as certified by my child's doctor and certified by the company's claim administrator. I've had my claim since 2015, of course re-certifying every six months or as needed and have everything exactly the same as it was in beginning when I first started it. Last month was pretty bad as far as flare ups, so I used Thursday, Friday and the following Monday through Thursday, with Thursday being an appointment day. Our process for reporting time away from work as FMLA is calling or using our administrator's online site, of course I use the online site. Reported all six days and all six days were approved. I come back to work and my manager asks me if I've been notified by HR to re-certify. I didn't think much about it, three days alter the claims admin sent me an email stating "Your continuous leave documents are ready", mind you this was three days after my manager asked me if I received any sort of notification for re-cert and within that three days the paperwork was never showing online to be completed. I didn't request "continuous" leave as what I used is well within what I'm allotted to use. Got my child's doctor to fill out the paperwork and few days later after submitting it back to the claims admin, it was denied and subsequently all six days were added to my unscheduled time and caused me to be put on a "final notice" which is the last step before getting the boot. Mind you, the claims admin approved all six days, then within a few days it was all reversed pending approval of the continuous leave I never asked for. Spoke with our payroll coordinator whom enters all FMLA reported leave into our schedules...she tells me it's the claims admin process that if I take "certain amount of leave" that they "handle it a little differently". Pretty much blames the claims admin. Complained to the claims admin, she then leaves me a voicemail stating it was nothing of their doing and was "your employer policy that anything over four days requires re-certification as continuous". At this point it's a finger pointing game. Two weeks pass, I had to again use six days in a row, this time without using any appointment day. It got approved by claims admin and sat approved for a good six days, then reversed and completely gone from my FMLA leave calendar. No notice, no reason given. At this point, it's clear the claims admin has nothing to do with any policy on their side for how I use FMLA time. I also reviewed my company's FMLA Policy which was recently up dated a few months ago and this so called policy for needing to re-certify due to taking more than four days of consecutive FMLA leave is NOW WHERE IN THERE AT ALL. At this point, I'm on my way out because of all the FMLA time turning in unscheduled time, and with the second time my reported leave was denied, that pushes me out the door. I feel like I should take legal action. Any insight?
 

ZeeOSix

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Originally Posted By: BrownBox88
I have an FMLA claim to take care of a dependent, under 18 child with serious health conditions for which I'm entitled to "intermittently" take three days off a week for flare-ups on top of one day a month for appointments, as certified by my child's doctor and certified by the company's claim administrator.
How does the written rules define "three days off a week"? If the written rules haven't been broken, then Admin must not be following thier own rules. Admin or someone should give you the reason you've been flagged, and investigate to see if there's a rules/process issue.
 
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No matter what anyone posts here, including myself, you need to find a lawyer specializing in FMLA issues. I can't stress this enough. I say this as a supervisor dealing with subordinates who have legit FMLA issues, as well as those who are gaming the system. The company you work for may be messing with you hoping to make you go away, but it's tough to say. Nobody on a web forum, no matter how highly regarded, can substitute for good legal advice. Please find a good FMLA attorney.
 
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Originally Posted By: AlaskaMike
No matter what anyone posts here, including myself, you need to find a lawyer specializing in FMLA issues. I can't stress this enough. I say this as a supervisor dealing with subordinates who have legit FMLA issues, as well as those who are gaming the system. The company you work for may be messing with you hoping to make you go away, but it's tough to say. Nobody on a web forum, no matter how highly regarded, can substitute for good legal advice. Please find a good FMLA attorney.
^^^^^^^^ This. All day everyday. Having said that... If I had to bet on this circumstance... I bet you have a good case here.
 

Nick1994

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Start documenting everything while you remember all the details, dates, times, save emails. If worse comes to worse, you've got all the info you need to hire a lawyer.
 

JHZR2

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Originally Posted By: AlaskaMike
No matter what anyone posts here, including myself, you need to find a lawyer specializing in FMLA issues. I can't stress this enough. I say this as a supervisor dealing with subordinates who have legit FMLA issues, as well as those who are gaming the system. The company you work for may be messing with you hoping to make you go away, but it's tough to say. Nobody on a web forum, no matter how highly regarded, can substitute for good legal advice. Please find a good FMLA attorney.
+1 On one hand, you are a liability to the company - this costs them something, somehow, and so of course they want to be sure that the claims are truly legit. They may also want you gone. But that’s where you have some level of protection under the law. It’s not all just for the profit of the business at all costs. There has to be some human protection and you are the prime example it seems. So the other thing I’ll say is document document document. Pull your old docs now. As far back as you can. If things get nasty or they let you go, you’ll be cut off so quick there will be no side of your story. Hate to have to do such things, but it’s part of life.
 
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There is a lot of difficulty in calculating an intermittent leave. Since FMLA allows up to 12 weeks, many times intermittent leave is defined at 480 hours (12 weeks x 40 hours per week) of missed work per leave year. A leave year is a rolling 365 day period looked at in the history to determine the amount of time taken off. FMLA doesn’t specify how an intermittent leave must be taken. Employers and employees both have expected requirements regarding notification and record keeping with the understanding that the need for leave may change. Could you be over 480 FMLA leave hours off within the last 365 days? Of course, nobody can give the advice of an attorney and a personal consultation with one might be needed.
 

dnewton3

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Indianapolis, IN
Originally Posted By: AlaskaMike
No matter what anyone posts here, including myself, you need to find a lawyer specializing in FMLA issues. I can't stress this enough. I say this as a supervisor dealing with subordinates who have legit FMLA issues, as well as those who are gaming the system. The company you work for may be messing with you hoping to make you go away, but it's tough to say. Nobody on a web forum, no matter how highly regarded, can substitute for good legal advice. Please find a good FMLA attorney.
Yup - this above. As several others have stated as well. I, too, worked for many years as a supervisor; up to 100 people per shift, 60-84 hours a week in the auto industry. FLMA abuse is rampant. Does not mean that you're abusing it, but the system is rife with those who don't operate on the up-n-up. So companies have had a few decades now to develop strategies to deal with all manner of issues in FMLA response. There are so many intricacies to the law that we'd not be able to cover them here. Many folks don't know that the "company" (employer) can legally require you to burn all your vacation time prior to you utilizing your FMLA leave. That is not common place, but it can be enforced. Another little known fact is that companies with less than 50 employees don't even have to honor FMLA at all. These are just a few of many examples of all the nuances of the law. Things may likely have changed since I was deeply involved with FMLA from the company perspective. All the more reason to get good advice from a professional. Get a lawyer. If you're legit (and I'm not saying you're not), then he/she will be able to help you.
 
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pbm

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Just curious....does the FMLA require the employer to pay you during these leaves or is it unpaid time off?
 
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Originally Posted By: pbm
Just curious....does the FMLA require the employer to pay you during these leaves or is it unpaid time off?
Unpaid. Typically if you are sick your optional short term disability kicks in. It is a good law, if your business take an employee out something is wrong in your operations and business plan.
 
Joined
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Originally Posted By: tomcat27
Make copies of all related emails while you still have system access.
Yep. Go back as far as possible and start forwarding all FMLA related emails to your personal email ASAP !!!! Maybe boss was annoyed that you were missing too many days (no fault of you're doing) and feels they have possible legitimate reason(s) to get rid of you ? And yes, some companies require you to use your vacation or PTO before you can use your FMLA time away from job.
 

pbm

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Originally Posted By: madRiver
Originally Posted By: pbm
Just curious....does the FMLA require the employer to pay you during these leaves or is it unpaid time off?
Unpaid. Typically if you are sick your optional short term disability kicks in. It is a good law, if your business take an employee out something is wrong in your operations and business plan.
In this case the OP isn't sick...his child is...so I doubt short term disability is an option for him.
 

BrownBox88

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Nov 16, 2011
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I understand I’ll need a lawyer. Will be finding one this morning. I just wanted to know what you bitog people thought about it. And yes, FMLA is unpaid but depends on your employer whether they use your PTO or not.
 
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You might start with your state Dept of Labor. They should be able to point you in the right direction.
 
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