1) What is the length of time an employer has to respond to such a request? There is no statutory time.
2) What is my wife's recourse when her HR department will not give her an answer?
3) What is my wife's recourse for having to continue to work through her condition because her employer's failure to respond to her FMLA request 5 weeks prior?
Before I answer the other two questions, I have some questions for you, and they do have an impact on the answer.
1.) How long has your wife worked for this employer?
2.) In the 12 months immediately preceding her requested leave, had she worked a minimum of 1,250 hours?
3.) How many employees does the employer have within 75 miles of her location?
4.) What is the medical condition for which she is requesting FMLA?
5.) What did her doctor state as being necessary in terms of leave? (i.e., 8 weeks of full leave, 3 hours off three times a week, half days for 12 weeks.....)
Two things I am tired of typing: 1.) A wrongful termination does not mean that you were fired for something you didn't do; it means that you were fired for a reason prohibited by law. 2.) The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding contract or CBA expressly says otherwise. If it does, the terms of the contract apply.