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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 11704
Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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I have been working at a company 7 years.

Customer Question

Hello,
I have been working at a company for over 7 years. I have had to take time off to care for my mother, currently in hospice. I was told verbally that I needed to put my mom in a home and come back to work in two weeks or quit.
In writing, I was told the only thing this company could do for was me was pay me for my time EARNED...and I needed to put in resignation by the end of this week.
FMLA is not offered because we have under 50 employees; however, this company is composed of leased employees, from a larger company.
If my employer wants to help me, they can terminate me. I should not quit.
Please advise me...how do I proceed? Can someone help me get some help at this very difficult time?
Thank you. Pam
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
my email is***@******.*** mobile phone is(###) ###-####
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Hello and welcome. I am so sorry to hear about your mother's condition and the difficulties you are having with your employer.
If the FMLA does not apply to your employment, then no law protects you and your employer is free to terminate you if you do not return to work as they are demanding. That is the unfortunate truth regarding your situation. Therefore, the only avenue of recourse would be to argue that the FMLA does in fact apply because the company you work for is really part of the larger company, which does have more than 50 employees. Keep in mind, though, that no matter what the requirement is that more than 50 employees work within a 75 mile radius of your place of employment--the size of the company alone is not what controls.
But if the larger company has more than 50 employees working within a 75 mile radius of your employment, and if you can argue that the large company and smaller company are "joint employers" (meaning they are jointly owned and controlled and for all intents and purposes the same entity), then the FMLA may protect you. If that is the case, then your employer would be breaking the law by firing you without affording the protections required by the FMLA.
If you think you can make the argument that the two companies are "joint employers," and if them being joint employers would mean that you have 50 employees working in a 75 miles radius of your employment, then the next prudent step would be to retain a local attorney to write a letter advising your employer of their FMLA responsibility and threatening a lawsuit if they let you go. Most employers are relatively litigation averse, and so any plausible threat of a lawsuit will probably be enough to get them to re-evaluate their position.
This is really your only hope of keeping your job short of complying with your employer's request to return to work. Otherwise, if you are fired your recourse is to file a lawsuit for wrongful termination in violation of the FMLA, making the arguments described above. The law does not afford any other legal protection to individuals in your circumstance, I'm afraid to say.
See here to locate a lawyer in your area who can write the demand letter to your employer: http://lawyers.findlaw.com/lawyer/practicestate/employment-law-employee/arizona
I hope that you find this information helpful. Please do not hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding the above and I will be more than happy to assist you further.
If you do not require any further assistance, please be so kind as to provide a positive rating of my service so that I may receive credit for assisting you. Very best wishes moving forward.

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