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FMLA Question Regarding Incapacity Michigan

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  • FMLA Question Regarding Incapacity Michigan

    I apologize in advance for the long post. Trying to be as thorough as possible.

    I work for an employer required to follow FMLA. I am an eligible employee by definition. While I work full time, I do not work a traditional M-F schedule. I work every Tuesday, every Thursday, and every other Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I work 12 hour shifts, paid hourly.

    On Friday April 8 I left work after approximately 2 hours due to severe flank pain. I went to my physician that same day, was diagnosed with a kidney infection, prescribed antibiotics and pain medication. I was given a note that put me off work the remainder of Friday and all of Saturday, April 9 with a return to work date of Sunday, April 10. I returned to work Sunday still feeling ill and ended up leaving work early. I remained extremely sick on Monday, April 11 (a normal day off from work) as well as Tuesday, April 12, which was a scheduled work day. I called in to work and ended going to the Emergency Room where I was diagnosed with an acute kidney injury due to dehydration on top of the kidney infection. I was put off work for that day (Tuesday), Wednesday (not a scheduled work day) and Thursday. I did end up going in on Thursday because I felt better and was able to work my full shift. I called in to request FMLA on the Tuesday that I went to the ER. I found out yesterday I was denied FMLA because I didn't miss 3 consecutive days of work. I was told that Friday, April 8 doesn't count as one of the days because I reported to work (even though I left early) and was told Sunday April 10 doesn't count due to the same, even though I left early. I received a written warning per our company's attendance policy.

    My questions are as follows:

    My understanding per the DOL website is that the 3 days of incapacity don't necessarily have to coincide with days worked because a person can be considered “incapacitated” if, for example, they aren't able to go to church, take care of their kids, go shopping or are otherwise limited in performing normal daily activities. So if their illness begins on a Saturday, continues Sunday and into Monday, that would be 3 days of incapacity, correct?

    Applying the same principles from above, wouldn't going home early demonstrate incapacity? Clearly I was not able to do my normal daily activities which is why I left work early.

    For what it's worth, the employer I work for uses a third party company to administer FMLA. Basically these are people in some call center reading from a computer script. I don't have a HR person locally that I can talk to. My employer is awesome and I have a great working relationship with everyone there. I do not fault them. I'm making a fuss about this because I don't want any disciplinary stuff in my file, not to mention the attendance points. I know people take advantage of FMLA all the time but that is not what's going on here.

    I would sincerely appreciate any insight you might have. Thank you.

  • #2
    Yours is one of those incredibly questionable ones but I wouldn't have called it FMLA either. Neither the infection nor dehydration would fall under the category of a serious health condition, much like the flu does not. You recovered in less than a week, and the days you felt poorly you were not necessarily incapacitated or unable to work at all. You aren't expected to have any lasting effects from the illness and will not need follow up care.
    I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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