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FMLA Question Indiana

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  • FMLA Question Indiana

    My husband, J, is off work on FMLA due to anxiety.

    His boss doesn't really "believe" in mental disorders. That in mind, she witnessed him have an anxiety attack and sent him home from work and he went on FMLA shortly after that.

    She recently asked a coworker (in another department) if J was planning on coming back, if he was looking for another job, and what was going on with him. She also said to this coworker that if J was looking for another job she would find out one way or another.

    Yesterday she called another coworker at home to ask questions about J. She asked how he was doing, if he was looking for another job, if he was planning on coming back, etc. During this phone call she implied that she didn't think he really had anxiety issues by bring up past challenging things he had done at work and stating he didn't have anxiety while doing that. While on this phone call she had the phone on speaker and there was another coworker in the room. My husband had not told this coworker that was in the room about why he was on FMLA.

    I feel that it is beyond inappropriate that she is asking these questions to coworkers, especially around coworkers who J never explained the reason he was on FMLA to. I would assume that if she is having conversations on speaker phone with other coworkers in the room she is probably asking others questions as well and telling others why he is on leave.

    He's afraid of talking to HR about it because he doesn't want to cause conflict between himself and his boss. At the same time he is angry that now many (he assumes) of his coworkers know why he was out and will feel awkward when he returns.

    This is a violation, right? She cannot be discussing his personal business with others, correct?

  • #2
    No, it's not a violation although it's extremely unprofessional. No laws make it illegal for your husband's boss to discuss the reason why he's out on leave or ask questions of his co-workers about his status.

    He's afraid of talking to HR about it because he doesn't want to cause conflict between himself and his boss. It doesn't seem like it could get much worse. He really should contact HR and let them know what's going on. I expect they'll be quite displeased to find out the boss is discussing his personal medical situation with all and sundry and making comments about his job security that could cause the company legal exposure. As a head of HR, I'd come down very hard on that manager and make it completely clear that (a) she needs to shut-up, and (b) if the employee experiences the least bit of consequences when he returns to work because he has a mental health disorder or because he took FMLA, the boss is very likely going to be shown the door.

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    • #3
      Agree with Beth. Your husband should let HR know what is going on. I bet
      they will not be too happy with the boss.
      Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

      Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

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