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FMLA almost gone - EEOC concern

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  • FMLA almost gone - EEOC concern

    Hopefully someone here may have some input that'll at least steer me in the right direction. Here's the scoop.
    I had gone out on medical leave for two medical conditions (newly diagnosed adult onset diabetes that was pretty out of control, and a previously diagnosed emotional disorder) at the end of January (I had been at my current emloyer for almost 3 yrs (retail sales)). I was out until the first week in April. Everything was fine, FMLA was accepted, no big hassles, my job had been going great, I performed well, I had won several awards, everything, to my knowledge had been just ducky all along. I had however been a bit predisposed to not liking the boss due to the fact that she was very lax and didn't have much of a competitive drive and I'm a fierce competitor. I didn't like how we constantly were near the bottom of the region, but I usually did well enough to keep her job. Anyhow, I come back and I'm addressed by the regional manager who informs me (immediately after I explain the whole situation) that things were an awful lot better without me around. I'm also told the same thing by my manager. I'm also being shunned by my coworkers, ignored and they are trying to bully me out of sales etc. This I can handle, whatever, people can't take competition, too bad for them. My manager then tries to force me into a confrontation with my coworkers to "sort out our differences" which I say to her "I have no differences, they apparently don't like me, perhaps you should talk to them" at which point she refuses to and reiterates her point. Things continue to get more difficult. I do, at this point receive a call from the HR representative asking me if I require an accommodation. I think about it and tell her I'll get back to her. After a few days, I realize that the atmosphere is one of which seems to be geared to get me fired. I'm constantly being approached by my manager, who is telling me that I'm causing problems (mind you, I'm just ignoring everyone I work with, and I'm doing my job just fine) by not interacting and that I need to apologize for my actions. I tell her that I don't understand what she is talking about and that maybe she needs to intervene. I start really getting panicky because I'm afraid at any time, being in an employment at will state (PA) that I'll be fired for being disruptive and be in some serious trouble, I have problems performing and interacting with customers. I call my HR rep and leave a message for her that I need to be contacted, that I do need an accommodation - in the message I tell her I would like to be transferred to another store, one where I'm not being persicuted for some unknown reason, and that I may need to leave the region, because it appears that the issue is coming from my manager's supervisor. I receive no call back within 2 days, I call again and get no response. I send an email to the local HR contact and the corporate HR contact (restating that I need an accommodation, and that I will need to be transferred, and I decide I need to go back out on leave again because I'm starting to get crazy again (maybe a bad choice of words, I've been diagnosed bipolar for about 10 years now). I contact the corporate HR lady (boy, these people never answer their phones) and let her know. This was about a week and a half after I returned to work (that I left again). She sent me the FMLA packets but didn't say anything about the accommodation. I haven't been able to get in contact with anyone since.

    Phew! I hope someone's still reading! Here's the problem we have now! My FMLA is about to expire! I have no doubt that they wouldn't have an issue at all terminating me. They would have no problem as they don't need to keep me legally after FMLA expires. I've never been terminated, and I'd rather not be fired at this point, but I do need a steady source of income until I can find another job (I'm starting to feel a bit better, I'm not entirely sure I'm ready to work yet but who knows). I was thinking about quitting pre-emptively and filing for unemployment, hoping that I could win that case on the grounds that I was a great employee and that I would be justified quitting to avoid being terminated for a poor reason (its in the legal terminology). I am also seriously considering filing a complaint with the EEOC as my request for an accommodation, which in my mind is completely reasonable (a transfer to an open location?) went completely ignored. Any thoughts? Thank you so much!

  • #2
    The ADA does not require that you be given the accomodation you want; only that you be given one that is effective. The accomodation has to be to assist you in performing the essential functions of your job If you are able to perform the essential functions of your position at your current location, they don't need to transfer you because of a personality conflict.
    The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

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    • #3
      I can handle if their idea of effective and my idea of effective are different. Obviously I perform the essential functions of the job, and perhaps its not my disability interfering with my ability to properly interact with my supervisor, or her discriminating against me due to me taking time off or having a disability to begin with. Assuming that this be the case, wouldn't they still need to at least inform me of their decision to not accept my proposal for an accommodation? Just ignoring me and hoping it'll go away seems to me like its not living up to their end of the bargin. If thats legal, then they can just ignore until my FMLA expires and fire me, which is what prompted my concern to begin with...

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