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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 111526
Experience:  20+ Years of Employment Law Experience
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C and I am a former employee of 4 years from the Department

Customer Question

My name is***** and I am a former employee of 4 years from the Department of Veteran Affairs, Health Resource Center in Topeka Kansas. I resigned on May 13, 2016 in order to become the primary caregiver for my husband who is a disabled veteran from the '91 Gulf War and had recently undergone foot surgery, that was service-connected, at our local VA Medical Center on March 23 2016. He had developed several underlying medical problems during his recovery time and was unable to return back to work. He had been on LWOP since the day of his surgery and ended up having to resign from his federal job at the USPS of 17 years. I did not receive my separation packet until Monday, August 1, 2016. During this time frame I was not able to draw unemployment, or apply for other federal benefits i was entitled to. Because of this delay I was unable to pay our rent, utilities, and other bills, which caused my family to be homeless. We have two daughters ages 5 and 6 that had to go through this traumatic situation that is still ongoing as of today. We are unsure of the federal and state laws that apply to separation as well as FMLA violations on the time frame for notification of approval or denial. I had applied for FMLA on March 16, 2016 and was told by HR that it would take a minimum of 6 weeks for a decision to be made. I did not receive a response as of the day of my resignation, 10 weeks after filing my request. Can you please help me in any way with this horrible position that my employer has put myself and my family through? Respectfully, ***** ***** Taylor
JA: Because employment law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?
Customer: Kansas
JA: Have you talked to a lawyer yet?
Customer: No, I have no funds for a lawyer.
JA: Anything else you think the lawyer should know?
Customer: I also had a pending Workers Compensation Claim in process that i was denied for after my separation as i was not able to respond to the claim in a timely manner due to this traumatic situation.
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 4 months ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
Unfortunately, you do not have a legal claim against the employer in this type of situation. If you resign from your employment for personal reasons, such as caring for a family member, you are not entitled to unemployment, since to collect unemployment you must have lost your job through no fault of your own or the voluntary termination was based on significant changes in terms and conditions of employment.
As far as FMLA, you could have taken up to 12 weeks of leave, even intermittent leave, to care for your spouse instead of quitting. The employer CANNOT take 6 weeks to decide FMLA leave and that is a violation of the FMLA, they must give response to an employee within 15 to 30 days. That is a complaint you can file with the US Department of Labor and you could also seek to sue the employer for not properly handling or responding to your FMLA request thus violating FMLA.
So your right here is to pursue a complaint for a violation of your rights under FMLA and you could sue them for violating FMLA.