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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
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Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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I need help with FMLA and Employement Law. Do you have

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I need help with FMLA and Employement Law. Do you have anyone that can help? please and thanks
JA: Was this discussed with a manager or HR? Or with a lawyer?
Customer: manager and HR I aske a question of a lawyer once when I was forced to take the fmla
JA: Is the workplace "at will" or union? Is the job hourly or salaried?
Customer: at will/ salaried
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: do I just tell them what happened when they contact me? sorry new

Hello and welcome to Just Answer. It will be my pleasure to assist you. What precisely is your question for me please?

Customer: replied 25 days ago.
I was working from home 3/23/2020 through 5/5/2020 due to Covid 19. I am a registered nurse of 26yrs who is a nurse manager that does MDS’s for state transmission (80% of my job is computer work). I have an immune disorder and have had a liver transplant in Oct 2017 and was approved to work from home starting 3/23. On 4/24/2020 my administrator (new administrator who has been there approx 4 months) along with the regional nurse consultant were hostile on Zoom meeting with all other managers present. On 4/27/2020 the administrator asked me about my health issues, when my next appt would be and various questions about my health and coming back to work on a zoom meeting in front of all my co-managers. On 4/29/2020 in the morning I filed a complaint against the administrator with my corporate head office about the breech of my medical information at the meeting. On the same day, 4/29/2020 in the evening I was phoned by the administrator and business office manager in my building telling me to 1. Return to work in the building (despite positive covid cases in the building and my immune condition) 2. Take forced FMLA (even tho I have a hernia and need to save my FMLA for upcoming surgery when it is safer or I can no long wait and it is essential to have it done) OR 3. Get Fired
The reason I was given was “The team is having a hard time without you” Nothing previously mentioned, no write ups in my file. My Regional nurse also got the same answer when asked why I couldn’t continue to work from home. I worked there for 3+yrs from 2014-2017 (when I had my transplant and could not return in 12 weeks and found another job with diff company after returning) They asked me to cover for them when their MDS nurse was on maternity leave in Feb 2019 (different administrator) and when she didn’t return they begged me to stay permenantly.
On 5/5/2020 I went on FMLA per the facility/administrator and turned in all the paperwork from my doctors and it was approved.
On 6/10/2020 I heard the current administrator who forced me either was fired or left.
Today I got a text from my regional asking for help retrieving paperwork on the government website that only I have access to and stated she wants to talk to me “about going back to work”…
A few things…1. The nurse they hired to cover me was working from home as well…so my thought is why didn’t they let me continue? That HAS to be wrong. 2. I was on workman’s comp for a hand injury I sustained in mid January that was done by a resident at the facility. 3. I filed a complaint with EEOC. I have a hearing scheduled 8/28/2020.
If they offer me work from home again do I take it? Do I have to take it? Does it absolve them of my complaint since they decided to “offer it back” at this time when I’ve gone all this time with no paychecks no nothing from them? What is my obligation to them? Please help.

Thank you.

They have to "reasonably accommodate" your disability which means allowing you to work from home so long as doing so does not cause their business to suffer "undue hardship." If they are allowing another nurse to work from home still, that suggests there would be no undue hardship by permitting you to continue doing the same.

If they offer you work from home, you don't "have" to take it, but the question is what would happen if you don't. If you don't take it, you will likely be denied unemployment benefits on the ground you refused an offer of suitable work. While it doesn't exactly "absolve" them of their prior actions, your damages are essentially reduced to zero if you they offer you work-from-home again because you are now getting what you asked for. Put another way, if you refuse the very accommodation you were requesting, you won't have much of a case at that point.

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.

* Disclaimer *

Just Answer is a venue for informational and educational purposes only. No attorney-client relationship is formed by these communications, and the information provided is not legal advice.

Customer: replied 25 days ago.
essentially they can jerk my chain back and forth "work from home" "don't work from home" and I have to comply now because it's again convenient for them? and necessary for my "case" were/if I have one? sorry I'm being realistic...And now I have to do what they want and I know they probably want to cover their butts and bring me back and write me up and ride me till they fire me to "do it (fire me) properly" What if working from home isn't convenient for me right now and I say no and continue on without unemployement until my hearings and EEOC and I get the letter that I can file a suit against them. Is this plausable? am I barking up the wrong tree? Should I try to work from home AGAIN even if it's only part time because full time is too much and continue with part time FMLA and part time work? sorry I'm trying to cover my bases. thank you.

Unfortunately, you can't just refuse the work and keep your job. At that point they could lawfully replace you. If full time work from home is too much, then that would require a second degree of accommodation--scheduling accommodation--which would likely be something your employer could reject as that would impose a much greater burden on their business than a simple work-from-home accommodation which they are already providing to other employees.

I wish there were better options, but I want to give you an honest and realistic response here. Again, if there is anything else that I can do, please let me know. It's my pleasure.

Are you still with me?

Customer: replied 25 days ago.
I can't just stay on FMLA? They can force me to leave my FMLA (that they forced me to take) early just because they need my help and are behind? what about my hardships? my no money since I started FLMA...it all seems wrong...I'm trying to process...would I ever see some kind of justice out of the whole deal? the medical breech, the forcing me out wrongfully...all of it ok now because they are desperate to get caught up?? How is any of that fair?

Thank you, ***** ***** If you are still on FMLA and your doctor will continue to certify your leave, then absolutely you can remain on FMLA and have your job protected for that period.

Patrick, Esq. and 7 other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you

I'm certainly not saying any of this is fair. Unfortunately all I can really do is explain the law. The law entitles you to up to 12 weeks of protected job leave under the FMLA and "reasonable accommodations" under the ADA. It's the combination of the two you are asserting here. Ultimately, though, when your FMLA expires and your employer can no longer reasonably accommodate time off, they could conceivably release you.

Does that make sense?

Was there anything else I can do for you?

Hello?

I am still online wanting to help you. However, as it has been about an hour since we began our discussion I do not have much more time. Was there anything else I can do for you before we conclude?