Suppose you experience a serious health issue that interferes with your ability to work. Or, what if a loved one is seriously ill or injured and requires your care so that you have to stop working or have to work less? Can you be fired? A serious health problem is frightening and stressful enough without the added worry that you may lose your job because of it.
Many employees are relieved to learn that, under the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”), an employee may be entitled to take unpaid leave without fear of losing his or her job. In most cases, the employee will need to provide a certification – a document prepared by a healthcare provider that explains the employee or family member’s health condition. But what happens when you provide a certification and your employer still is not satisfied?
In some cases, an employer can require a second opinion from a second healthcare provider that the employer chooses. Before requesting a second opinion, an employer must give the employee written notice stating why the employee’s certification is being questioned, and must give the employee an opportunity to provide additional information. In other words, an employer cannot simply demand a second opinion without explaining why the first certification is unacceptable and giving the employee a chance to fix it. If a second opinion is required, the employer is responsible for the cost of the medical exam, including reasonable travel expenses. Also, even though an employer may choose who provides the second opinion, the employer cannot choose someone that it regularly employs.
The FMLA recognizes that an employee who is dealing with difficulties caused by a serious illness or injury should not also have to deal with a difficult and unreasonable employer. If you or a loved one is experiencing an illness that affects your ability to work, know your rights. And if you think those rights have been violated, call the right attorney.
If you feel that you are being denied leave rights under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), you should call the right attorney as quickly as possible to schedule a free and confidential consultation. The phone number for FMLA help is 866-797-6040.
The materials available at this employment law website are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. Your best option is to contact an Ohio attorney to obtain advice with respect to FMLA questions or any particular employment law issue. Use and access to this employment law website or any of the links contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship. The legal opinions expressed at or through this site are the opinions of the individual lawyer and may not reflect the opinions of the Spitz law firm or any individual attorney.