FMLA Intermittent and ADA Reasonable Accommodations - Missouri


New Member
I have multiple chronic illnesses, registered as 'disabled' when converted from contractor to FTE at my company. Been with the company for over one year as an employee, three years as contractor. Many employees (with and without disabilities) work from home during the week or have a flexible schedule (working from home). HR policy states flexible schedules are available and determined by department and management. Prior to February 2015, I worked from home once or twice each week (as other members of my department do as well). Current manager has only been a manager for less than one year. Working from home suddenly became an issue and 'not something our team' does in February 2015. Requested meeting with Employee Relations Manager to discuss. Determined working from home two dedicated days per week. Discussed using intermittent FMLA for days where I am ill due to chronic conditions (SLE, RA, Panniculitis, FM, Complex migraines) and will not work from home so these absences are not counted negatively against me on performance reviews. Submitted FMLA paperwork completed by physician and is currently being reviewed by medical staff at company. In the meantime, have been ill related to conditions, but determined to work from home (as have in the past during my employment) during two of the days. Manager emails and 'suggests' or 'recommends' not working, but using PTO and resting. Why? Is this the same rule for all other employees in our department or the company? If I choose not to work, then I will be marked negatively for not meeting deadline(s) and completing work. I am only person that reports to this manager. I do not think I should have to request a reasonable accommodation through ADA for working at home when other employees are afforded the ability to work from home, one employee who is a manager in the same department I am in works two days from home each and every week. I am in an IT position with team members that work locally, offshore and vendors that are out of state. Am I being treated unfairly?
Even IF someone on the outside believes you are being treated unfairly such an opinion is meaningless.
I suggest you lodge a complaint with the appropriate department within your company, hire a lawyer to pursue any legal remedies that exist, or contact these fine folks at the US DoL (WHD)
Unfair and illegal are two different things. If your particular manager is not comfortable with her staff working from home, that is not illegal. You say you don't feel like you should have to ask for accommodation, well perhaps you shouldn't "have" to, but I don't know why you wouldn't do that. Because others are allowed to work from home doesn't mean you should be automatically. My office is "allowed" to have weekends off. Other employees work every Saturday. Sorry, that's the business need.
Also, "working from home" means working, just from your home. It does not mean nursing a medical condition and avoiding using PTO. Rarely is working from home when sick as productive. Under ADA you HAVE to request an accommodation. Your employer doesn't have to read your mind that you need an accommodation. Even then, you aren't guaranteed to be allowed to work at home even if others performing different functions are allowed. Some jobs lend themselves to this better than others. You also must request FMLA. Your employer does not have to excuse non-FMLA absences.
Working from home does mean working and if that was in questions, the company has multiple technical methods to determine if an employee is working (VPN connection, log on times, etc.) Working also means dialing into conference calls, responding to emails and instant messages. There is no question when I am working from home that I am working. This particular incident had nothing to do with my medical condition nor was I 'nursing' it as you implied or avoiding using PTO Strep Throat. I think as a professional, I can determine when I am well enough to work and when I am not. Believe it or not, I have a work ethic and meet my deadlines and commitments. I am fully aware of the guidelines of FMLA and ADA. Those that work from home in my same department are performing the SAME job functions. The folks in the forum are not the friendliest, this will be my last post. No additional negativity is needed.