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Employer not submitting FMLA & Short-term disability for me

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  • Employer not submitting FMLA & Short-term disability for me

    I'm 8months pregnant and my doctor wrote a letter with weight lifting restriction. I'm an occupational therapist working in skill nursing rehab facility. I was told by my manager to get the letter to give him more weight for giving me more accommodation. So he recommended me to show my doctor of my job description in order to get accommodation...lighter case load.

    Initially my doctor wrote no heavy lifting, only light work, which was the language used in my job description. Heavy work means lifting over 50lb. My company said there's no light duty in my job description. Either my doctor have to sign off my job description/letter to work without restriction or take FMLA. So I was told later that day to return to work I have to take option one. The following day, I did not produce such a letter because there was no way I was going to say I can lift more then 50 lb...and didn't sound like they were going to accommodate me at all. so I said I will take FMLA and file for short-term disability per their recommendation. Later that day, I emailed them to just confirm on paper the only two options given to me, because everything was verbal. Two days later, I received a letter via email saying the first letter was too vague, if the letter was more specific, then they would consider accommodation and it was I was wanted to apply for didn't sound like they supported or said that I am eligible for FMLA. As soon as I received the letter, I stated that I will get a more specific letter from my doctor since they gave me the hope that they may accommodate me. So the second letter stated that I can lift up to 50 lb but limit lifting between 20-50lb and I requested to hold off submitting FMLA/short-term disability, hoping that I will be able to go back to hind sight, maybe I shouldn't have.

    a week later (now), corporate HR still reviewing my case and today I found out that legal department is involved....which I was out of the loop. And today I requested the FMLA and short-term disability application to be submitted. HR person where I work already have all my documentation.... I got no I called and found out that HR was told not to submit the applications until corporate make a decision. I feel my right being violated...that they refuse to submit my application. it doesn't make any sense. I have waited 2 weeks unemployed, using my sick/vacation time and no knowing whether I will receive any protection from FMLA/short-term disability... Tho I was told verbally not to return to work, the company hasn't officially stated on paper that I should not be back to work either. I feel at loss and stuck in a limbo between work and not work.
    They were suppose to give me an answer yesterday (a week after second letter), and now it's still under review and not letting me know when I will get a response.
    Junior Member
    Last edited by coolmix; 12-15-2010, 02:21 PM.

  • #2
    What state? We ask that when you start a new thread for a reason.
    I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.


    • #3

      It's Massachusetts. I thought I selected the state when I first posted, I think I must have deleted by accident when I edited the post


      • #4
        Maybe I'm missing something, but why does the company have to submit your application for disability? Can't you do that yourself? If the employer has to be involved, though, I understand why they are not helping you. You refused to provide certification from your doctor as to your restrictions.

        Here's why I'm having a problem, unless I'm completely either misunderstanding you or the Act. You refused to submit the necessary information from the doctor because you "wouldn't admit" you couldn't lift 50 lbs. Why wouldn't you? I don't know an 8-month pregnant woman who can (or should). The employer was required to provisionally designate any absences BECAUSE they can't accommodate you with light duty to FMLA, but only until you return the required paperwork. If you refuse to do that, FMLA is out the window for this circumstance.

        A normal pregnancy is not covered under the ADA, since it is a temporary condition.

        The law requires only that you not be discriminated against SOLELY because you are pregnant. It does not require that you get special treatment. If other employees who needed "light duty" for a personal condition don't get it, then you aren't entitled to it either. Many employers limit light duty assignments to on-the-job injuries, because there just aren't that many light duty jobs to go around; that is legal.

        Massachusetts may have some additional protections, but it is not my state. It is cbg's however, and she should be online later tonight.
        Senior Member
        Last edited by Pattymd; 12-15-2010, 03:07 PM.
        I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.


        • #5

          Thank you for your response.

          They have all the HR said the short-term disability goes hand in hand with FMLA....

          I just realized FMLA is only up to 12 weeks...not 26weeks...I misread but I was also misinformed by the HR person...bc she said it could be up to 26weeks as well. So if I want to be off 3 months post-partum...I should take time off till I actually give labor.... Therefore I guess I will have to be forced back to I need a letter from my doctor to give me no weight lifting restrictions...since my company is dragging their feet on giving me a response of whether they can accommodate me or not...

          I will have to wrap up my loss (2 weeks sick/vacation time) and return to work whether I like it or not....if I want to have a job 3 months after giving birth.


          • #6
            Originally posted by Pattymd View Post
            Massachusetts may have some additional protections, but it is not my state.
            Here's some info on the interrelationship of MMLA & FMLA that you might want to read.

            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

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            • #7
              Patty, it's quite common for HR to be the one to actually submit the disability application. It's usually a three part form, with the employee completing one section, the doctor a second, and the employer (HR or the manager) the last.

              Neither Federal nor Massachusetts law requires an employer to provide light duty or to "accomodate" pregnancy. An employer who is willing to do so is doing more than the law requires. But this is contingent upon your providing the information that is requested. If you refuse to return the medical information, they need not provide FMLA.

              FMLA is leave. STD is how you get paid while you are on leave. They do go hand in hand in that regard, but they are two different things that accomplish two different purposes. FMLA provides job protection. STD does not. FMLA lasts for 12 weeks, period. STD can be for as long as 26 weeks under most policies (that is not law, that is policy specific) but only the 12 weeks that are FMLA provides protection.

              In MA, and in most states, the employer MAY require that you use vacation and sick time as part of your FMLA.

              Specifically, what do you think the employer is doing that is illegal?
              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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