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  1. #1
    pittguy578 is offline Member
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    If you have exhausted FMLA, does an employer need to warn you before firing you?

    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? PA

    I am on short term disability for mental stress. I have been on different medications. I think the latest medications are starting to work. The depression is lifting. I have nearly exhausted my FMLA time (been off since December 9th) I could get one more week on short term disability. I am just concerned that I may be terminated even if I am able to go back to work next week (my last day of short term disability would be on the 16th). I know my job is not technically protected by FMLA time, but should the employer warn you if they are going to end your employment or can they just fire you without warning once the FMLA time is up? If I could get another week to get my head on straight, that would be helpful. I was misdiagnosed as bipolar so I was barking up the wrong tree for the first two months of treatment.
  2. #2
    Betty is offline Senior Member
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    FMLA is 12 weeks of job protected leave. Once the 12 weeks is up, your employer can terminate your employment & without warning if you cannot/do not return to work. (unless the employee has additional protection under the ADA & additional time off would be a reasonable accommodation --- however, stress, in itself, is generally not considered a "mental impairment" under the ADA)

    What about asking your employer if you can have off an additional week over your 12 weeks of FMLA?
  3. #3
    pittguy578 is offline Member
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    This has a strange twist. I called HR earlier today, and the representative had told me I had 64 hours of FMLA time which would take me to next Monday. I then got an e-mail later in the day (nearly at the close) saying my FMLA time ran out on 03/02/2011. The HR representative I had spoken to on the phone told me to make an appointment with the doctor, and I had a week or so to get things together.Now I am totally in limbo. I made an appointment with my doctor for Thursday.

    I am not sure where this leaves me. If someone told me my FMLA time ran until 03/13/2011, and I relied on that information, would they be required to keep that date?
  4. #4
    Betty is offline Senior Member
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    Who sent the e-mail - was it also HR? Did they make a mistake regarding what they told you earlier in the day? Did you call or e-mail to verify the correct expiration date? Did the e-mail say anything other than just that FMLA expired 3-2-11?

    Thanks.
  5. #5
    pittguy578 is offline Member
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    HR made the mistake. In the e-mail they explained they had not updated their system. The other problem is there are too many "chiefs" in this. My employer doesn't handle the short term disability aspect of the claim nor do they do their own FMLA certification. That is done by a third party-Metlife. Met life told me that my short term disability claim would expire on 03/16/2011. Short term lasts for 12 weeks so they should be on the same schedule as FMLA.


    I e-mailed my boss. I told her the situation that I want to follow-up with my doctor one last time before coming back. The way that this was handled was a disaster. She didn't indicate anything about being terminated.

    The other problem I have is I believe my recovery was hampered by the initial botching of the FMLA approval.

    I went out on 12/09/2010. I had made sure all of the paperwork had been faxed in before I even went out of the office to be sure. They literally took until after the first of the year despite the fact they had the paperwork so I was sweating bullets and my depression was getting worse for the first 3 weeks I was out of the office. I had the worst Christmas/New Years ever. I could not even visit family. I handle claims, and I think they botched the job and that hampered my recovery probably by three weeks at least. This is not a situation like a broken leg where the approval or disapproval of FMLA doesn't affect recovery time.

    And I am out due to depression that I think was caused by stress..not just "Stress"
    Last edited by pittguy578; 03-08-2011 at 01:26 PM.
  6. #6
    Beth3 is offline Senior Member
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    You're entitled to 12 weeks in total of FMLA, even if HR made a mistake in calculating when those 12 weeks would end. If your employer uses a third party to administer FMLA and it takes time to find out if your leave is approved, then that's just the way it is.

    The best thing you can do is to stay in close contact with your supervisor and with HR regarding when your doctor releases you to return to work, which appears to be imminent. They might be willing to extend a few more days of non-FMLA leave to you since you will be returning to work soon.

    No, your employer does not have to warn you that your about to use up your FMLA leave and your employment terminated. You can count out 12 weeks on calendar as well as they can.

    Good luck to you.
    A person, who is nice to you, but rude to a waiter, is not a nice person. (This is very important. Pay attention. It never fails.)
  7. #7
    cbg
    cbg is offline Senior Member
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    The month of December is the busiest month of the year for HR. In my office the work load triples that month and that is not even close to an exaggeration; if anything it's understated. They had a great deal more to do than babysit your claim through the third party administrator so that you would get an immediate answer.
    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.
  8. #8
    pittguy578 is offline Member
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    Here is the other thing. I had asked for the Corporate FMLA paperwork up front..even before I went out of the office, and I was told there was none. When the third party was taking so long, I called back and after a lot of persistence, I was told there was separate corporate FMLA paperwork. If I had known that up front, I would have asked for that paperwork. My employer gave me bad information by telling me there was not any corporate FMLA paperwork.

    That delay/misinformation really did hamper my recovery. I would have had the FMLA paperwork even before I went out of the office. I was not concerned about the disability payments. I do have all of the e-mails I sent where they denied there was any corporate FMLA paperwork...and the one where they finally admitted there was.

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