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    Being Harrassed for taking sick leave

    I work for a public university. I have worked full time for various departments since 2004. In the department I was at before I discovered I suffered from severe migraines and vertigo spells. I had my doctors write notes stating what I have and that when it happens I need to take time off to recover at home. Well the notes didn't seem to matter to my previous boss or HR, but fortunately i got a new boss and he asked HR to drop the case because he felt it was ludricous the charges brought against me and I left to another dept. My new boss at the time was understanding and allowed me to take time off whenever I was sick. However, she left last year and a new boss came into the picture. The new boss was not as understanding, well actually he was in the beginning and in the past few months has been giving more of a hard time at work. In the beginning he said he knew how hard I worked and he was fine with me making up the time. In the last few months, his attitude changed. He at no point addressed with me being upset that I would take sick leave. Mind you, I have the sick time to take. Instead of addressing his concerns with me, he went straight to HR and I was blindsighted into a meeting with him and HR yesterday. This was after I had resigned since I found another job on the same campus. HR spoke of how I have a pattern of being abscent and as I tried to defend myself, she would not let me speak. I was trying to explain to her that I have dr notes saying that I am allowed to take time off when I am sick. That was not really acknowledged. I was then told about a 2 page list of demands my current boss wants me to do before I leave for the new job. I honestly felt harrassed by HR as this is not the first time I have had issues with them. I have colleagues who have also felt harrassed by them. I need to know if I have any grounds for making this a legal matter. Also need to know if I choose to not return to my current employer and not finish what he has asked me for, if there is any legal recourse that can be done against me? I do not have any signed contract with the university. I understand it is very unprofessional and I will lose the other job but if I need to stay under the same umbrella with the current HR I am not sure if I want to stay at this university. Please help


  2. Super Moderator Samaritan & Scholar

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    You may.

    How much time, in total, would you say you have taken within the last 12 months?

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    Quote Originally Posted by cbg View Post
    You may.

    How much time, in total, would you say you have taken within the last 12 months?
    I just checked and it shows I have taken 125 hours, which equals about 16 days. Please keep in mind I had to take 2 weeks off due to my blood pressure being elevated because of the stress I have been under due to my boss. I was authorized under FMLA to do so.

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    Has ALL the time you have taken been under an authorized FMLA leave, for which you have provided medical certification? Remember, if the doctor says on the FMLA forms, high blood pressure, then the ONLY authorized time off is for high blood pressure. Not for migraines, not for vertigo. ONLY the condition listed on the FMLA forms is protected.

    With that in mind, how much of the time you've missed has been under FMLA?

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    Quote Originally Posted by cbg View Post
    Has ALL the time you have taken been under an authorized FMLA leave, for which you have provided medical certification? Remember, if the doctor says on the FMLA forms, high blood pressure, then the ONLY authorized time off is for high blood pressure. Not for migraines, not for vertigo. ONLY the condition listed on the FMLA forms is protected.

    With that in mind, how much of the time you've missed has been under FMLA?
    with the FMLA i took those 2 weeks. but prior to that I had provided HR with a note from my doctor talking about my other issues. Are you saying I am not allowed to take sick leave? That doesn't sound right. Why am I allowed to accrue hours for sick leave if I then cannot take it?

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    That's not what I'm saying. What I'm saying is that excessive absences that are not protected by FMLA are a valid reason for termination. Just because you have a doctor's note does not mean that the employer is required by law to accept the absence.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kitty09 View Post
    I had provided HR with a note from my doctor talking about my other issues. Are you saying I am not allowed to take sick leave? That doesn't sound right. Why am I allowed to accrue hours for sick leave if I then cannot take it?
    It does not sound right because it is not right. What state do you live in? What does your employee handbook say in regards to using accrued sick leave? Is there a Union in place here?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Green Hornet View Post
    It does not sound right because it is not right. What state do you live in? What does your employee handbook say in regards to using accrued sick leave? Is there a Union in place here?
    I am in Florida.

    I am searching and searching the HR website and cannot find anything on the do's and don'ts of taking sick leave. Yes there is a union but I honestly have no idea how to reach them either. Trust me I have been trying to find them since this happened.

    I am just finding it hard to believe that even with a doctor's note I seem to have no rights. I would think I would have some sort of protection because then basically anyone who is ill will always run the risk of being fired.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kitty09 View Post
    I am in Florida.

    I am searching and searching the HR website and cannot find anything on the do's and don'ts of taking sick leave. Yes there is a union but I honestly have no idea how to reach them either. Trust me I have been trying to find them since this happened.

    I am just finding it hard to believe that even with a doctor's note I seem to have no rights. I would think I would have some sort of protection because then basically anyone who is ill will always run the risk of being fired.
    Forget H.R and No they should not try to fire you being sick. You better keep looking for your rep whats is your bargaining unit? If your paying dues someone is collecting that money and has to pursue this grievance. Do you have a copy of your contract?

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    Your employer has every right to terminate you in any instance, whether they are in the right or in the wrong. Before they do so, I highly recommend getting in contact with your union and discuss the matter with them first and see what can be done on that end. With the documentation from the union and your doctors, it will look as if you tried to exhaust all other alternatives to the situation before leaving, whether or not you got the list of demands finished.

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    Quote Originally Posted by de novo View Post
    Your employer has every right to terminate you in any instance, whether they are in the right or in the wrong.
    Not with a union in place they cant de novo.

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    We still have not established how much of the time she missed is protected leave. Union or no union, she CANNOT be fired for absences that are protected under FMLA. She CAN be fired for absences that are not protected under FMLA UNLESS the union contract says otherwise.

    This is by no means clear in either direction yet.

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    I guarantee you the union contract has a just cause provision for termination, as well as a progressive discipline clause. Using sick leave when your sick is not going to fit the bill for a termination.

    Kitty one other thing if you questioned about this any further tell H.R or whoever you refuse to answer any questions with out your shop steward present, I guarantee they will get a hold of him.
    Last edited by Green_Hornet; 07-06-2009 at 09:43 AM.

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    I don't in the least doubt that there is such a provision. The question is what the parameters are. I doubt that the CBA provides for unlimited medical leave.

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    She did not take unlimited leave, read post #5 she took 30 days (14 days FML 16 days under a doctors note). She has accrued sick time in a Union contract. Kitty09 have you exhausted your accrued sick time?
    Last edited by Green_Hornet; 07-06-2009 at 11:15 AM.

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