Visitor Question

Not allowed to work with restrictions?

Submitted 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.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.


Dear Marquez,

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.

Learn more here: Returning to Work After Injury

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney.

Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call 888-972-0892.

We wish you the best with your claim,


One comment on “Not allowed to work with restrictions?

  1. Anonymous says:

    I work for the Federal Government. After my Workers Comp claim was initially denied, I was threatened by my supervisor to return to work, even if in a telework capacity.

    Although my doctor didn’t think I was ready to return, he wrote a letter allowing me to return to work with the following restrictions: 100% telework and speech software.

    After I filed a Reasonable Accommodation (RA) request with my agency’s HR department, I received the software, but avoidance and deflection when I asked about the 100% telework request, although I was still teleworking and receiving assignments.

    The Workers Comp claim decision was overturned and I was approved for Workers Comp. The next business day, I received a letter from my supervisor demanding that I return physically to the office, in spite of a letter from my doctor still recommending 100% telework, or I would be deemed AWOL and removed from employment.

    I have been very anxious and depressed about this and have to return in a few days. My fear is that, after I return, they will minimize my injury and the compensation for it. If I don’t return, I risk firing.

    By the way, I’ve found out that the HR contact:

    1) lied and said my doctor never approved 100% telework (I have proof to the contrary);

    2) lied and said I withdrew my request; and

    3) never told me the findings of their decision (which I should have received 3-4 months ago) and verbally said the information was sufficient and closed. But, I was never told this information in writing or otherwise.

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