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FMLA/ STD questions....discrimination? Pennsylvania

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  • FMLA/ STD questions....discrimination? Pennsylvania

    I have a history of back/hip issues that has caused me to need restrictions at work. I am a registered nurse who works in pediatric home care. At first, I had a lifting restriction of 25 pounds and for the most part, I was accomodated. When I was not accomodated or shifts with clients that I could handle were given to part time employees, I called the office for an explanation. I have a friend that worked for the company part time and she was pulled from a case because a full time employee needed the hours. I didn't understand why that wasn't being done for me. Also, we are told that we are required to work 2-weekend shifts a month. This is not in our employee handbook. I have found out that others are not required to do this. When I worked a weekend, I was required to go to night shift, although during the week I would work days. When I inquired about weekend dayshift cases with clients that met my restrictions, I was told that a part time person committed to working every weekend and that committment was more important. Sometimes, I didn't even get enough hours and was forced to use vacation time.

    I spoke with the director about not getting enough hours and she said I could work in the office if they were unable to find me work in the field. My physician updated my restrictions to no more than 20-pounds lifting, no frequent bending and requiring frequent position changes. I was then told that my employer had no work for me that would accomodate me, not even work in the office. They said that I would need to use the rest of my vacation time and once that was up, I would be called to see if any job that could accomodate me was available. I never got a call. I do not understand that. I feel like they want me to quit so they are giving me a hard time. I've worked in the office before and know that I could do an office job without going against my restrictions.

    They told me on May 26 that they could not accomodate me. I asked for FMLA and STD paperwork. I was told that the person who was responsible for completing the employer section of FMLA was out of the office until the next week, so they could not get me the FMLA papers. I downloaded them from the internet instead. I was also told that STD paperwork would be emailed to me. So I made an appointment with my physician for the following day. I did not receive the STD papers, so I called the office. I was told that the person responsible was busy, but an email would be sent to him as a reminder. I called my office's director later in the day and was given a snippy answer that "we are busy and you will not have those papers before your appointment." I had the FMLA paperwork completed and emailed it to them and received a "read receipt" that same day.

    I did get my STD paperwork via email the next week. I had it filled out (at an extra expense) and emailed it to the HR person by June 8 and asked for a confirmation of receipt. I did not get one. On June 11, I resent the request and on June 12, I received the confirmation. I did not hear from my STD company, so I called them on June 27. They informed me that my claim had not been filed. So I had to file it myself. The STD company requested information from my employer, and my first check was cut July 11. The STD benefits allowed for my condition were for 21 days. Last date worked 5/25, then a 2 week waiting period and 7 days of pay from June 8 to June 15. The claim was filed almost 2 weeks after my last eligibility date. So I am a month behind. I have spoken with other employees who needed to use STD and their claims were filed immediately.

    I still have no information about my FMLA despite requests for information and I have filed a complaint with the Dept of Labor.

    What do you think about this situation? Should I file a discrimination case with EEOC?

    Thanks and sorry so long.

  • #2
    On what basis were you discriminated against that would warrant an EEOC claim?

    Were your restrictions temporary or permanent?

    The company does not have to make a position for you if one is not available. That includes giving you a schedule which another nurse has or office work that another employee handles.

    Not everything has to be in the company handbook. It is legal to change job requirements when it is a business necessity.

    I don't understand your comment about STD. If you were deemed disabled for 3 weeks and received 3 weeks of pay, how are you a month behind?

    Other than the FMLA it sounds as if everything else was handled.


    • #3
      Isn't it considered discrimination if you are made to do something that others are not? Some PT people are forced to give up their hours to make sure that a FT employee a full schedule, but others are not? Some are told that EVERYONE must work weekends but then find out that it is not true? Some people have their STD claims filed in a timely fashion but others are ignored? That doesn't sound right to me.

      My first day of disability was May 25. I handed in completed paperwork on June 8 but had to find out on my own on June 27 that the claim was never filed. According to STD, my disability was allowed a 21 day period for recovery. The claim was not filed, so by the time I received my only allowed payment for dates June 8-June 15, it was already July 15. This is when I also received the 21 day allowance notification. STD needed physician verification/notes that my disability is ongoing before they will send more payments. That is what makes me 1 month behind. If the claim had been filed in a timely fashion, I could have known about that requirement weeks ago. I could have seen the doctor and had more treatments. I could have had an income and paid my bills on time. I needed to get the disability letter to have my student loans deferred due to economic hardship. Since the letter didn't come until last week, I am behind in payments there and it is adversely affecting my credit.

      I had been working on a case with a 2 year old since she was discharged from the hospital in June 2009. I was asked if I would mind giving up a few days with her and pick up a few days with another client since the nurse there(a part time employee) that had been working with the second client was asked not to come back to the home due to her smoking habit. I agreed but found out that the second client was moving to another state and would no longer contine services with our agency. When I approached the agency about it, they told me not to worry because they would have enough hours for me. I have restrictions from the doctor as I stated before. The other nurse does not. Yet she gets to keep her part time hours and my original client that meets my restrictions while I am forced to use my vacation time because they can't give me 40 hours per week. Not fair. I gave up a comfortable and doable case because she smokes, but I can't get enough hours because I have medical restrictions? Not right. It shows favoritism, in my opinion.


      • #4
        Originally posted by Frustrated in PA View Post
        Isn't it considered discrimination if you are made to do something that others are not? Some PT people are forced to give up their hours to make sure that a FT employee a full schedule, but others are not? Some are told that EVERYONE must work weekends but then find out that it is not true? Some people have their STD claims filed in a timely fashion but others are ignored? That doesn't sound right to me..
        Employers don't have to treat every employee the same. They can treat employees differently, as long as the reason for not treating them differently is not a legally protected class/trait. Full-time and part-time are not protected classes, so they can be treated differently. Some employees can be required to work weekends while others have weekends off, as long as it's not based on a protected class like race, age, sex, religion, disability status, or the employee having exercised a legal right or obligation.

        If one person's STD claim was delayed longer than someone else's because of HR being busy, the weather, astrological allignments, or because HR just doesn't like the employee's shoes, that's not illegal discrimination.
        Last edited by TSCompliance; 07-22-2011, 12:11 PM.


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