Being Harrassed for taking sick leave

Discussion in 'Employment, Labor, Work Issues' started by kitty09, Jul 3, 2009.

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  1. kitty09

    kitty09 New Member

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    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
     
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  2. cbg

    cbg Super Moderator

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    You may.

    How much time, in total, would you say you have taken within the last 12 months?
     
  3. kitty09

    kitty09 New Member

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    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.
     
  4. cbg

    cbg Super Moderator

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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?
     
  5. kitty09

    kitty09 New Member

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    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?
     
  6. cbg

    cbg Super Moderator

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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.
     
  7. Green_Hornet

    Green_Hornet New Member

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    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?
     
  8. kitty09

    kitty09 New Member

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    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. :confused:
     
  9. Green_Hornet

    Green_Hornet New Member

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    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?
     
  10. de_novo

    de_novo New Member

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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.
     
  11. Green_Hornet

    Green_Hornet New Member

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    Not with a union in place they cant de novo.
     
  12. cbg

    cbg Super Moderator

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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.
     
  13. Green_Hornet

    Green_Hornet New Member

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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: Jul 6, 2009
  14. cbg

    cbg Super Moderator

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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.
     
  15. Green_Hornet

    Green_Hornet New Member

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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: Jul 6, 2009
  16. cbg

    cbg Super Moderator

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    I didn't say she took unlimited leave. I was trying to make a point. That point is that we do not know specifically what rights are granted to her under her CBA - we can only guess at what general provisions exist.

    Clearly she has not used all the time available to her under FMLA. However, it sounds as if not all the time she took was attributable to FMLA. IF all the non-FMLA time is covered under her union contract, and I agree that it probably is, then she has cause for legal action. If it is not covered under her contract, which we cannot know for certain with the information available to us at this time, then she may or may not, depending on whether or not there is any FMLA retaliation going on.

    At no time did I say that the employer was in the right or that she had no options. What I said was that at this time, we cannot carve anything in stone.
     
  17. Green_Hornet

    Green_Hornet New Member

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    Well there are all kinds of things that can be carved in stone 1. There is a union contract. 2. The shop steward is not present. 3. The contract outlines accrued sick leave. 4. Under FMLA she has not come close to exhausting the 90 days. 5. She is being rousted. 6. The union is napping on the job somewhere. 7. The phrase “unlimited medical leave” has no reason to be anywhere in this thread since it is not being requested by the poster.

    Looking at this post I am already seeing a DFR against the union if the poster suffers adversely from this charade. She is not supposed to be doing the unions’ leg work. The H.R dept has their head up their ass. The new boss is abominable and needs to go down the road for rousting the employee. Management training if she has any, is rudimentary so at the very least the new boss needs to brush up on her management skills that seem to be lagging 20 years behind the times.
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2009
  18. cbg

    cbg Super Moderator

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    The phrase “unlimited medical leave” has no reason to be anywhere in this thread since it is not being requested by the poster.

    As yet I have not been notified that you have been put in charge of what words or phrases other posters can and cannot use. I had a valid reason for the use of that phrase and it is not up to you to limit what I, or anyone else, is/am allowed to say.

    And I haven't seen kitty's descriptions of what her contract does and does not outline. Until we do, any guesses about what sick leave rights she has are just that - guesses.
     
  19. Green_Hornet

    Green_Hornet New Member

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    I know you do; its subterfuge, to side track the main issue, and to make it appear that anyone advocating for the sick employee is advocating “unlimited medical leave” there by making their position less credible BTDT.

    I don't care if you use the phrase as long as we are all wise to why you use it. Just so we all understand that no one is advocating, and the poster is not requesting “unlimited medical leave”. Also never said you could not use the phrase only that it has no reason to be anywhere in this thread since it is not being requested by the poster. Go use it all you want if you want to be a laughing stock.
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2009
  20. cbg

    cbg Super Moderator

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    Well, no, that wasn't the reason. I've already told you what the reason was, and frankly I don't give a damn if you believe me or not. You're the one taking the thread on a tangent; you're the one getting hung up on semantics. No one accused the poster of taking or requesting unlimited sick leave; you're the only one who has even suggested such a thing. The only laughing stock here is you if you don't think anyone reading the thread can see that.

    Kitty, if you would like further assistance I would be more than happy to work with you via PM, but I will not insult you by pretending that GH has anything valid to offer. He has a personal agenda with me and would rather take my posts apart than help you. That is not doing you any service. From everything you have posted I strongly suspect that you do have a valid cause of legal action, but I would rather ask questions and get the right answer than jump to conclusions like GH does. Feel free to contact me privately if you like.
     
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