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Dwayne B.
Dwayne B., Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
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Experience:  Employment Law Expert
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ONLY... I quit my job after 8 years because I was told not

Customer Question

FOR DWAYNE B ONLY...I quit my job after 8 years because I was told not to file for FMLA leave for the birth of our son. Despite being persuaded NOT to pursue FMLA, I filed electronically via the employer's online HR tool. I was contacted by HR and was told I needed a doctor's certification for them to approve FMLA leave.My wife had complications throughout her pregnancy, and will most likely require a hysterectomy at this point. In addition to paternal bonding, I also needed to help her care for our son.I feel the pending case from 2 years ago, and lack of knowledge by my direct supervisor (who has been fired after 5 months) led to the obstacles placed in my path. Do I have a case if I sue for FMLA violations?Also, I was never informed of my rights under FMLA Despite my employer knowing that my wife was pregnant and hospitalized twice. I took 2 weeks vacation time only.
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 8 months ago.

Hello and thank you for contacting us. This is Dwayne B. and I’m an expert here and looking forward to assisting you today. If at any point any of my answers aren’t clear please don’t hesitate to ask for clarification. Also, I can only answer the questions you specifically ask and based on the facts that you give so please be sure that you ask the questions you want to ask and provide all necessary facts. Please note: This is general information for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed herein, and no attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an expert on this site. By continuing, you confirm that you understand and agree to these terms.

What happened after you got the doctor's certification?

Also, how many employees work at your location?

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Over 75 employees...it is a large Auto Group with over 18 franchises. I never obtained a doctors certification because I wasn't providing medical care. Just Paternal Bonding.
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 8 months ago.

They can still request a doctor's certification as to your wife's condition.

If you didn't provide one then it is going to make your case more difficult but since they never discussed your rights you at least have an argument.

You have to start by filing a complaint with the Department of Labor. The website for that is at https://www.dol.gov/wecanhelp/howtofilecomplaint.htm

They will investigate and then either enter an order or tell you that you can sue.

You may want to visit with a local lawyer that does employment law, you can find one at www.lawyers.com, in the section for Area of Practice enter Employment Law. If they are interested in representing you they may want to look over any papers you send to the Department of Labor.

If your question has been answered then I'd offer my best wishes to you and ask that you please not forget to leave a Positive Rating so I receive credit for my work.

Of course, please feel free to ask any follow up questions in this thread. I want to be sure that all of your questions are answered. In addition, once you issue your Positive Rating the question will lock open and no longer time out so you can come back to it anytime in the future if you think of any follow ups.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
I never intended on providing care for my wife. The reason I explained was to be home with my newborn son. I was made to come back 3 days after his birth. Additionally, I was told to "work whatever hours I felt I could", I was kept after closing for 2 consecutive days, and I finally had enough and quit. They knew I needed to be home, and was only working during the peak times to assist them.
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 8 months ago.

Yes, but until your child is born the issue was with your wife and so they are allowed to ask for the certification. You can make the argument that it was for care of the child and that if they needed a certification for that they could have asked but that is only after the child is born.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
It was after his birth
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 8 months ago.

That definitely works in your favor then. Your argument is that you were taking it for the child, not for the mother and they didn't ask for a doctor's note on the child. It's a technical argument but it shoudl work.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
They DID ask for medical certification for the bonding with newborn. Which is why I didn't complete it. I was also told by other managers that I should not have taken any vacation time as it cost them over $20,000. I complained to my then supervisor, and nothing was done. In fact, it became worse from the other managers. I went above his head, and the same manager that never helped resolve my issue, called me and asked why I went over his head.
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 8 months ago.

I don't understand what you mean by the first two sentences. Why wouldn't you complete it if they asked for it?

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Because they don't need a doctors certification for bonding. There is nothing to certify, as it is not a medical condition.
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 8 months ago.

Yes, but what they are going to say is that they requested a doctor's certification as to the birth of the child. As you rightly point out, there is no certification for the bonding period but they are allowed to ask for "proof of birth". I've never seen the issue actually get to a judge and then go up on appeal so I'm not sure how the court will rule on the issue.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
The FMLA form that was provided via our online HR Portal was completed by myself. 3 days later I was called on the phone, and told that was the wrong form. She emailed me another form (older I think) and said I needed to complete it to show that my newborn required medical care from me. I have the email, and the attached form if that helps clear things up.
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 8 months ago.

You can attach it if you would like. Please attach it in JPEG or PDF format.

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