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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 11057
Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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I work in Denver Co. I had surgery on my left elbow on

Customer Question

I work for HCA in Denver Co. I had surgery on my left elbow on 2/8/16. The hand surgeon took me off work for 8 weeks. My return to work date is 4/4/16. This is not through work comp. but my private health insurance plan. I filled out paperwork for short term disability/FMLA and sent into Sedgwick -as this is who HCA has administer FMLA. I did this 30 days prior. All parties had this information. 0n 2/9/16 I received an email from Sedgwick stating claim had been accepted through 3/20/16. I called and spoke with the person who sent me the email. I asked her why 6 weeks vs. 8 weeks as per my Dr. She told me in was standard procedure to set 6 week increments as this way patient would follow up with Dr. In a timely manner. I told her my next appt. was 3/15/16 w/Dr. She said to have Dr. fill out two forms again-return to work and medical necessity letters.
She said once they get this they would give me 2 week extension per my doctor's orders. I did this. Information sent to Sedgwick. My boss forwarded me an email today stating that my claim was closed as of 3/2016. Also, that they my FMLA status was under review. I am out two weeks pay at the very least. However, I am wondering if my employer can use this against me in any way. Not going back to work for 8 vs. 6 weeks. Again, Dr.'s paperwork stated return to work date is 4/4/16.
Submitted: 7 months ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 7 months ago.

Hello and thank you for entrusting me to assist you. My name is ***** ***** I will do everything I can to answer your question.

The very purpose of FMLA is to allow employees suffering from serious health conditions to take up to 12 weeks of protected job leave without retaliation. If your doctor certified you for 8 weeks of leave, then you would be entitled to take that much time off. The fact your employer only "approved" 6 weeks would be completely irrelevant. If it were up to employers to "approve" FMLA then the law would become completely meaningless. So no, what you are describing would not be something that could legally be used against you. Your employer could technically ask you to have your need for leave "re-certified" -- that is, ask you to provide a new doctor's note re-confirming your need for leave, but they cannot simply "close" your claim or "decide" not to honor your FMLA. The very purpose of the FMLA is to prohibit exactly that.

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.

Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 7 months ago.

Hello again,

I just wanted to followup with you to make sure that you did not have any further questions or concerns. For some unknown reason, the experts are not always getting replies or ratings (which is how we get credit for our work) that the customer thinks have gone through. In your case I have not yet received either. If you are having technical difficulties with reading, replying or rating, please let me know so that I can inform the site administrator.

In any event, it was a pleasure assisting you and I would be glad to attempt to assist you further on this issue, or a new legal issue, if needed.

Very best wishes.

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