How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Patrick, Esq. Your Own Question

Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 7530
Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
60109343
Type Your California Employment Law Question Here...
Patrick, Esq. is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I had surgery on my shoulder a week ago. 15 minutes before

Customer Question

I had surgery on my shoulder a week ago. 15 minutes before I was to leave work for my medical leave I was called into a formal conference room and with my direct supervisor, the controller and the payroll administrator I was asked why I chose to take only some of my sick leave toward my leave. I told my employer my doctor said I would be out 4-6 weeks depending on what was found when she did the surgery. I wanted to save some of my sick time for the physical therapy once I was released to come back to work. The controller seemed very upset with this. Then she said she was legally required to keep my job open for 12 weeks under the family leave act. The controller went on to say that their lawyer said I must contact them every few days by email to let them know how I was doing so they can print this and put in my employee file. When I replied that I was not seeing my doctor every few days and that I assumed I would be resting more than anything I wouldn't have regular updates that she wanted. She then said, ok, then email us once a week just to let us know that you are alive. This way we know what is going on and my impression was that this was so they knew I was interested in keeping my job. (and words were said to that affect) however I don't remember the exact wording in that as I was pretty upset as I have never, in the 12 years that I worked there, taken any sort of leave other than a 10 day vacation and sick days-never more than 2 at a time as I am very healthy. If they had simply asked if I could let them know how I was doing, I owuld have no problem with that at all. I had already agreed to contact my direct supervisor (at her request) the night of my surgery to let her know how it went and then again the next day when I did a post op follow up with my doctor. I have always put my company 1st and always got the job done and have an excellent reputation within my company so I don't understand. So basically what I want to know is...is this something the emails on a weekly basis something I must legally comply with? In addition to that can they generally just require me to do this as a company policy? There is no policy for this tht I am aware of. Can you give me any advice or should I just let this go? If you have any other questions, please let me know. Thank you for your time.
Janice
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Janice,

Thank you very much for your question. I am truly sorry to hear that your company has reacted so negatively to you taking time off for surgery, especially in light of the fact that you have been a loyal employee for so long.

First, let me back up and explain the protections afforded to you under the Family Medical Leave Act ("FMLA"). The FMLA is a federal act that guarantees eligible employees up to twelve weeks of unpaid leave on account of, among other things, a "serious health condition" which prevents an employee from working.

Where an eligible employee takes FMLA leave, he or she has the right to return to work in his or her own, or to a substantially equivalent position, if he/she returns on or before the expiration of the 12-week leave period.

Among other things, an employer can be sued for interfering with an employee’s FMLA leave, denying FMLA leave, refusing to reinstate an employee who timely returns from FMLA leave, requiring an employee to take more FMLA leave than the employee needs, or retaliating against an employee who takes FMLA leave

While an employee may take up to 12 weeks off for a serious health condition under the FMLA, they must demonstrate a continuing "period of incapacity" during all FMLA-approved leave time, and an employer is permitted to request reasonable updates regarding an employee's condition to determine whether they are still in a "period of incapacity."

It sounds like this is what your company is trying to get you to do, and they have a lawful right to request this. Fortunately in the state of California, testimony from the employee alone is typically sufficient to establish incapacity. For complicated reasons, the law is different in other jurisdictions where continual doctors notes re-establishing your condition are required. This would explain why, when you informed your employer that you would not be seeing your doctor every few days that your employer asked you to check in with them and provide updates. Your checking in with them and assuring them that you are still incapacitated is legally sufficient to extend your FMLA leave, typically speaking.

So to answer your question most directly, your employer's request that you check in on a regular basis and update them on your condition is a lawful request with which you must comply. Fortunately, in the state of California, you do not need to produce regular and recurring doctors notes every few days and your own testimony regarding your condition is sufficient.

While I certainly understand your frustration with regard to the way you are being treated by your employer, they are not violating any law by making this particular request.

I wish you the very best with your shoulder recovery. I once had a shoulder surgery to address a chronic dislocation and the rehab was a slow and difficult process.

I hope that the information I have provided allows you to put this aside, move foward, and focus on your health. If you have any additional concerns regarding this matter whasoever, please do not hesitate to let me know. If you do not have any further concerns, I would be very grateful if you would give my answer a positive rating and click submit, as this is the only way I will receive credit for assisting you.

Finally, please bear in mind that none of the above constitutes legal advice nor is any attorney client relationship created between us.

Thank you and very kindest regards.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Satisfied Customers: 7530
Experience: Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
Patrick, Esq. and other California Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you so much, I feel much better. I have no problem talking to them and letting them know how I am doing, I would have done that regardless. It was the way in which they did it and the overall tone. My surgery went very well and I may be able to get back to work a little quicker than I thought so that is very good. I had a torn bicep tendon. As you can tell this experience was an eye opener for me and I can see the direction my company is going in and it is not good. I am taking the time now, while I heal, to figure out where I want my professional future to be. I have a lot of options. I know...more info than you need but you have relieved a worry that I had and I thank you very much.


Thanks for being here for people!! It is a great service you do.


Have a great day.


Janice

Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Janice,

Thanks so much for the kind words! I am thankful to have the opportunity to help people through this website. All the best to you in your recovery and your professional career.

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises! Gary B. Edmond, OK
< Last | Next >
  • Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises! Gary B. Edmond, OK
  • My Expert was fast and seemed to have the answer to my taser question at the tips of her fingers. Communication was excellent. I left feeling confident in her answer. Eric Redwood City, CA
  • I am very pleased with JustAnswer as a place to go for divorce or criminal law knowledge and insight. Michael Wichita, KS
  • PaulMJD helped me with questions I had regarding an urgent legal matter. His answers were excellent. Three H. Houston, TX
  • Anne was extremely helpful. Her information put me in the right direction for action that kept me legal, possible saving me a ton of money in the future. Thank you again, Anne!! Elaine Atlanta, GA
  • It worked great. I had the facts and I presented them to my ex-landlord and she folded and returned my deposit. The 50 bucks I spent with you solved my problem. Tony Apopka, FL
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C. Freshfield, Liverpool, UK
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • LawTalk

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    933
    I have 30 years of experience in the practice of law, including employment law and discrimination law.
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/LA/LawTalk/2012-6-6_17379_LawTalk.64x64.JPG LawTalk's Avatar

    LawTalk

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    933
    I have 30 years of experience in the practice of law, including employment law and discrimination law.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/MU/multistatelaw/2011-11-27_173951_Tinaglamourshotworkglow102011.64x64.jpg Tina's Avatar

    Tina

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    869
    JD, 16 years experience & recognized by ABA for excellence in employment law.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/PI/PIExpert/2012-7-1_152453_Attorney.64x64.jpg Brandon, Esq.'s Avatar

    Brandon, Esq.

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    332
    Has received a certificate of recognition from the California State Senate for his outstanding legal service.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/PH/phoenixrising119/2012-7-26_11214_043.64x64.jpg melissamesq's Avatar

    melissamesq

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    47
    Represent clients to maximum recovery in employment cases.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/IG/Iggy1001/2013-11-20_23344_JApic.64x64.jpg Joseph's Avatar

    Joseph

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    3602
    Extensive experience representing employees and management
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/JK/jkiani22/2013-11-18_15348_JacobKiani1copy2.64x64.jpg jkiani22's Avatar

    jkiani22

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    24
    Attorney
  • /img/opt/shirt.png Legal Counsel's Avatar

    Legal Counsel

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    32
    California Licensed Attorney- 29 years- Wages, Hours, Overtime, Discrimination, Wrongful Termination.
 
 
 
Chat Now With A California Employment Lawyer
Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq.
California Employment Lawyer
7530 Satisfied Customers
Significant experience in all areas of employment law.