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FMLA work location change

Discussion in 'Medical Leave & Disability' started by Disturbedcalm, Jan 28, 2014.

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  1. Disturbedcalm

    Disturbedcalm Law Topic Starter New Member

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    My daughter was diagnosed with high functioning autism last spring. She has been in speech/group therapy since summer. I informed my supervisor of this. Do to appointment scheduling, time off needed was minimal.

    Due to the unexpected passing of my boyfriend's father in late December, I ended up running out of vacation time at the end of the year, and was AWOL for a couple hours. I had plenty of sick time available, but due to company policy, sick time can't be used if vacation is already scheduled.

    After this occurrence, my supervisor suggested that I file for FMLA for my daughter's treatment. A day or so after requesting the paperwork, I received the forms. A couple days after that, the head of the department announced that all department employees are to report to the main office at the end of the month.

    HR has already calculated that I qualify for FMLA, based on my work hours. However, having to report to the main building would create additional hardship in making my daughter's appointments. It would require over an hour commute on public transportation just to get to my car, then having to pick her up & take her to the specialist. Her appointments are in the evening, and I would have to leave work two hours early to make the appointment. My current work location allows free parking on site, and only requires a 20 minute drive to pick her up.

    I have submitted the requested forms, including the provider certification. Upper management verbally requested a written explanation regarding the leave. I did not give my daughter's specific diagnosis, but explained the hardship the work location change would make in an email.

    Can the work location change be prevented due to the hardship it would create regarding my daughter's appointments?
     
  2. ElleMD

    ElleMD Well-Known Member

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    Sorry but no. You work wher the employer dictates, not where it is more convenient for you to takle time off work. Your employer is required to allow you to take FMLA if you qualify but it does not require any sort of accommodation to make it easier nor would you qualify for accommodation under ADA. I suggest finding child care or a doctor closer to work or another family member to take her for appointments if it is that much of a hardship. There are zero instances where an employee gets to decide where their department is located or the commuting arrangements.
     
  3. cbg

    cbg Super Moderator

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    Additionally, FLMA does not exempt you from changes that are required of all employees and which would be in effect regardless of whether you applied for FMLA or not.
     
  4. Disturbedcalm

    Disturbedcalm Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Thanks for the info. Now, my employee handbook states regarding FMLA leave that a temporary transfer of job location is allowed and may be required for foreseeable recurring FMLA leave. So this is the employer's policy, rather than a provision of the FMLA?
     
  5. ElleMD

    ElleMD Well-Known Member

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    Your employer has the right to temporarily and voluntarily transfer you to a position while you are using intermittent FMLA which makes it easier for the business to accommodate your absences. The law does not guarantee this, nor is it at the perogative of the employee or to make commuting easier. Under the law it is permitted only for reasons of business necessity (as opposed to retaliation, etc.). If for example, you were a receptionist and bring away meant there was no coverage or coverage was burdensome on the business (hiring a temp for random hours, pulling others away from their duties, etc.) then your employer could transfer you to say a file clerk position for the time you needed intermittent leave.
     

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