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TJ, Esq.
TJ, Esq., Attorney
Category: Employment Law
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Experience:  JD, MBA
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My husband his and has been employed at a large law firm in

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My husband his and has been employed at a large law firm in Manhattan and has been for the past 7 years. His attendance record and work record have been impeccable for the whole time. Two years or so ago, he was diagnosed with Essential Tremor. The meds given by our regular neuro did not help and then he went out on FMLA on April 18, 2013. We sought out a specialist who tested him and determined him to have Parkinsonianism. She prescribed Cinnemet which has helped him tremendously. We were told by his HR department that all he needed to return to work was a note from the doctor who wrote "Patient is under my care and is neurologically cleared to return to work on 7/15/13. Only restrictions are heavylifting and climbing. His job is a computer Desltop Support Specialist, nota moving man! At times he lifts printers (30lbs). After our faxing the note over his HR person called saying she needed the doctor to be more "specific", also that his department is "very busy" and they were not prepared to make "accommodations. He loses all his health benefits on 7/17 unless we are prepared to payapprox $2000 per month to continue them beyond that. It is my understanding that when a person comes off FMLA he gets his old job back. Please advise as thisisextremely time sensitive. Patrick Iadimarco
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  TJ, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Hello and thank you for allowing me the opportunity to assist you. I'm so sorry to hear about both your husband's medical issues, and his problems with his employer.

You are correct that FMLA guarantees that when a person returns to work, that person will be given the same job (or a substantially similar job), and have the same seniority and pay. Additionally, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires the employer to make reasonable accommodations for a disability. Accordingly, the accommodation that he not do any heavy lifting or climbing is certainly reasonable for a computer support specialist, and should not be a problem.

I suspect that there may be a miscommunication about your husband's condition. I would ask the doctor to provide a new letter which is a little more specific regarding the weight that can be lifted and what can/cannot be climbed. It sounds like HR is confused. Or, since the job does not require substantial lifting or climbing, you may ask the doctor to write a new letter which has no restrictions, with the idea that in the future if he is asked to lift heavy items or to climb things, at that time he can seek a new letter that is specific. I would do what's necessary to get your husband back to work. Based on what you wrote, it doesn't sound like he really needs any accommodations at work, and it sounds like that is what is confusing HR.

Does that answer your question? Please let me know if you need clarification, as I am happy to continue helping you until you are satisfied. Also, your positive feedback is much appreciated. Thank you for using our service!

If you would like to direct additional legal questions to me in the future, then please type "To VAMD" in the subject line of your question.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

That IS the point. In the past they got him a "tremor mouse" that JAN suggested. Job Accomodations Network. Now his is doing well on the new meds but the specialist who prescribed them wrote his problem as Parkinsonianism. Can that be held against him? The doctor was confident at the time that he would be back to work. Tmw we have a 9am appt with her or followup and them she might prescribe additional meds to push this along even faster. But that HR person scared me when she said his depatment was very very busy now and that he should speak wih him immediate supervisors befor he attempt to return and when I asked about any accom, if ever needed,s he said no. can they do that. They are making him a nervous wreck to go back as if he was oing to be under a microscope. I have MS and this is not helping me and I am medically covered under him. 1. Should he or does he have to speak with his immediate supervisors as i seems they are chanin the job description? Or if this doctor writes no restrictions should we just send that in. Can they just fire him?

Expert:  TJ, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Hi again.

Q: Now his is doing well on the new meds but the specialist who prescribed them wrote his problem as Parkinsonianism. Can that be held against him?
A: No, they cannot use his illness against him. If his Parkinson is bad enough that it is disruptive, then he would be protected by the ADA.

Q: But that HR person scared me when she said his depatment was very very busy now and that he should speak wih him immediate supervisors befor he attempt to return and when I asked about any accom, if ever needed,s he said no. can they do that.
A: They can have him talk to his supervisor, but they have to give him his job back if he is ready. That is required under FMLA. And a reasonable accommodation is required under ADA (assuming his Parkinson is bad enough that it requires an accommodation). The HR people may or may not fully understand the law and what they are required to do. If he doesn't need any accommodations immediately to start working again, I would not bring it up. It will just create questions in HR that do not need to be addressed at this time. In the future if he needs a reasonable accommodation, then he can make the request at that time. Based on what you told me, he doesn't really need any accommodations at this time.

Q: 1. Should he or does he have to speak with his immediate supervisors as i seems they are chanin the job description? Or if this doctor writes no restrictions should we just send that in. Can they just fire him?
A: No, they cannot just fire him because he is protected under FMLA at this time (assuming he has not used up all 12 weeks). If he is asked to speak to his immediate supervisor, then he should do so. The FMLA doesn't govern who a person must talk to. I would talk to whomever can get him back to work ASAP. If the doctor writes no restrictions, then I would bring that as well. The botXXXXX XXXXXne is I'd do what they are asking to get him back to work ASAP. Once he's working again and off FMLA, then he can see if any accommodations are needed.

Does that help? Please let me know if you need further clarification, as I am happy to continue assisting you. Thank you for using our service!
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

They are now in the middle of a huge Windows 7 upgrade suppose , when he speaks to his supervisors, they hit him with all kinds of questions about this, technical questions, anything to show that he may not be up to it. How should he answer them, "I'm ready to do my job"? He is expecting the sky to fall on his head when he returns and THAT does not help his condition. How should he approach any question and answer session they put him through and are they allowed to put him through it?

Expert:  TJ, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Hi again.

Yes, I would tell them that he is ready and able, and can do his job just as well now as before. He should just be firm and adamant that he is ready for the job. Be confident. Can they grill him? Technically, if the doctor says that he's ready, then they should accept that at face value. They would not have the right to refuse to let him work. But I think that your husband would be ill-advised to go in there "throwing around his rights." I would just tell them that he's ready, provide the paper, and remain firm that he can handle the job. If he is still not allowed to work, then it may be time to retain a local attorney.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Sorry, I forgot to mention this which could be important and which HR has no knowledge of. Before he went out on FMLA his immediate supervisor told him to go out an get well, on the right meds, because "she couldn't protect him anymore" by that she meant that she had been assigning him to jobs within the department that fitted his slight tremor or things that he was better at. How can that play into this. As I said before in no place is that written and his work and attendance records are without flaw.

Expert:  TJ, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Hi again.

I'm not sure that should play a part. Hopefully, it won't be brought up, but if so, then he should tell her that he has indeed gotten better. Again, I would avoid asking for accommodations at this point, unless it's truly required.
TJ, Esq., Attorney
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 10012
Experience: JD, MBA
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