Not allowed to work with restrictions?

by Marquez
(Tuscaloosa, AL)

I have a disability covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). I started having problems due to the disability. My doctor requested a 40 hour work week and no heavy lifting. Shortly after that I found out I was pregnant - the pregnancy doctor requested the same.

I was told by my work they could not accommodate a 40 hour work week, and that I'd have to do overtime as needed. I brought a total of 4 doctor's excuses and they kept telling me it's not enough and they could not do it. They did not ask me to sign a medical release.

While waiting on their approval for the 40 hours, I continued to work overtime. I had perfect attendance. Finally, after 2 weeks of back and forth about the doctor notes, HR called for me at 2pm and told me I was being placed on unpaid FMLA starting the next day, and to go back and have the restrictions lifted or I was fired.

The next day I went and filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). I'm waiting to hear back. After 2 weeks at home, my work decided to mail me FMLA papers and said to fill them out or come back off restrictions. Is this legal?

I had no intentions on leaving early, but I was not going to lift my restrictions. I refused to fill the FMLA papers out because I wanted to work my 40 hours. I did not know about "intermittent" FMLA, and during the 3 weeks of bringing doctor excuses in they never once said I could use FMLA, let alone say anything about intermittent. They just told me to go home and get the work restrictions lifted.

Do you think I have a case, even though I did not fill the FMLA papers out? I was fired when they sent me home because I was not going to lift the restrictions. I did write them a certified letter after they mailed the FMLA papers, telling them I did not want FMLA and that I needed to work my 40 hours. Thanks for any information.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Not allowed to work with restrictions?":

Marquez (Tuscaloosa Alabama):
To have the basis of an legitimate and viable EEOC claim you will have to prove you suffered discrimination because of your disability. From the facts you present, there doesn’t seem to evidence of that.

According to the U.S Department of Labor:

"The FMLA entitles eligible employees of covered employers to take unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons with continuation of group health insurance coverage under the same terms and conditions as if the employee had not taken leave. Eligible employees are entitled to:

Twelve workweeks of leave in a 12-month period for:

- a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of his or her job;"

From the facts you present, there is no evidence your employer appears not to have had a right to place you on unpaid FMLA. Moreover, your failure to comply with the employer’s request, barring proof of discrimination, was sufficient reason for your employment to be terminated.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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