Best Ohio FMLA Employment Attorney Answer: How do I get disability accommodations at work? What can I do if my employer requires me to be “fully healed” before I return from FMLA leave? Do I have a claim for disability discrimination if my boss makes me take sick leave instead of accommodating my disability?
As our employment law attorneys have blogged about before, the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA“) is federal law that was passed in January 1993 and was signed by President Bill Clinton. Under the FMLA, eligible employers must permit their eligible employees to take up to twelve weeks off from work for their own serious health condition, the serious health condition of an immediate family member (your spouse, parents or children), or for the birth, adoption, or placement of a child. Alternative, eligible employees can take 480 hours of intermittent FMLA leave. (See Can I Sue My Boss For Interfering With My FMLA Leave? I Need A Lawyer!; Can My Employer Require A Second Opinion Before Giving Me FMLA? I Need A Lawyer!; Can My Employer Deny Me Part Time Hours Under The FMLA? Help, I Need A Lawyer!; and If The Person Who Fired Me Did Not Know About My FMLA Use, Can I Still Sue For FMLA Retaliation? I Need The Best Lawyer Reply!). Per FMLA requirements, to be eligible for medical leave, employees need have worked at least 12 months and 1,250 hours in that time for an employer that has 50 or more employees within 75 miles. (See Do I qualify for FMLA leave?)
Going on FMLA leave is undoubtedly a difficult time for employees. Whether it is a personal medical issue or a family member’s serious health issue, going on FMLA leave involves a great deal of stress. However, a recent case involved an employer putting even more stress on an employee on FMLA leave when they consistently blocked that employee from returning and earning a wage.
Bernadine Adams filed a disability discrimination and FMLA interference and retaliation lawsuit against her employer Brookdale Senior Living, where Ms. Adams worked as a health and wellness director until she was wrongfully fired. Ms. Adams suffered from fibromyalgia, a chronic disorder that causes widespread pain. Due to the issues Ms. Adams was having regarding her disability, she requested that Brookdale offer some simple accommodations to allow her to manage her fibromyalgia at work.
Ms. Adams asked that she be given a temporary modified work schedule, an ergonomic chair and adjustments to the lighting levels in her office that were causing her disorder to flare up. Brookdale refused all three requests for accommodation and instead of helping an employee with a disability, Brookdale forced Ms. Adams to go on FMLA leave.
A particularly interesting part of Ms. Adams case is that Brookdale insisted that she stay on “full FMLA until she was fully released.” In essence, Brookdale was rejected any work restrictions, no matter how minor or reasonable those work restrictions were. This, as you have read extensively in our FMLA and disability discrimination blogs, sounds very very fishy.
When an employee goes on FMLA, the employer is required by to perform an “individualized assessment” when deciding whether an employee is fit to return to work. The issue with what Brookdale was doing with Ms. Adams was outright refusing to perform any kind of individualized assessment by requiring that Ms. Adams be “fully released” or “100% healed” before returning to work. By placing these conditions on Ms. Adams’ return to work, Brookdale was simply assuming that any restriction, even if it was completely reasonable and easy for Brookdale to accommodate, precluded Ms. Adams from performing her job.
Brookdale’s fishy and illegal policies when it came to employees returning to work from FMLA leave certainly cost them in this situation. Brookdale agreed settle the lawsuit by paying Ms. Adams $112,500 and also agreed to change its policies when it came to employees requesting accommodations for disabilities and allowing employees to return to work after FMLA leave.
If your employer is denying you the opportunity to return to work after taking FMLA leave, you need an experienced employment attorney on your side to fight for you. FMLA leave is stressful enough as it is, and employers taking advantage of employees who are experiencing serious medical issues or caring for a loved one should not go unpunished.
If you feel that you are being denied leave rights under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or are being retaliated against for taking medical leave, you should call the right attorney as quickly as possible to schedule a free and confidential consultation. Having to live with a disability is difficult enough without worrying about the effect it may have on your job. If you are disabled or your employer perceives you as being disabled; and you have been fired, wrongfully terminated, discriminated against, demoted, wrongfully disciplined, denied wages, or even think that you might need a disability discrimination lawyer, then call the right attorney to schedule a free and confidential consultation. Spitz, The Employee’s Law Firm, and its attorneys are experienced and dedicated to protecting disabled employees’ rights under ADA and Ohio employment law. The phone number to contact an Ohio attorney for FMLA and disability discrimination help is 866-797-6040. While you focus on your family medical needs, let our employment attorneys focus on your medical leave rights.
This employment law website is an advertisement. The materials available at the top of this medical leave page and on this employment law website are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. If you are still asking, “how do I get medical leave under the FMLA?”, “what should I do when my job won’t accommodate my disability?”, “can my boss deny me medical leave?”, “what should I do if I was fired in because of disability discrimination?”, or “is my employer allowed to…?”, your best option is to contact an Ohio medical leave 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 Spitz, The Employee’s Law Firm, Brian Spitz, or any individual attorney.