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When taking medical leave, is filing an F.M.L.A. mandatory?
Jun 11, 2001


Two years ago I was working two full time jobs, took a leave from one to try and reduce physical and mental stress to help my body fight the infection. Next test showed a significant drop in my t-cells, which we (my doctor and I) attributed to the job I kept being high stress. So I took a medical leave form that job. Was contacted by them and they told me that I was on unapproved leave and that I would HAVE to fill out an F.M.L.A. Which I did not want to do as I did not want to disclose my condition. But I did, then I went back to work at the other job to a position that would hopefuly be less stressful, and slow my rate of decline. Meanwhile the employer that asked for the F.M.L.A. terminated me for fraudently using sick time. As I was working at the other job. So to get to the point I guess there is two questions here.

1. Did I have to fill out an F.M.L.A. which disclosed my condition? Or should the medical leave request from my doctor been suffecient?

2. Did they terminate me because of my condition and use the sick time thing as an excuse?

One more thing, what can or should I do about it?

Thank you: Mugsy

Response from Ms. Franzoi

With the passage of the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA), employees gained new flexibility in dealing with health issues, including the ability to apply for an FMLA leave for several reasons, including to deal with a serious illness. This resulted in employers establishing, as required by FMLA, a policy for granting these leaves of absence. When you advised your employer via your doctor's note that you were unable to work due to a serious health condition, your employer had the right to consider that an FMLA leave. Furthermore, your employer had an obligation to notify you that it was an FMLA leave, advise you of your rights and your obligations under FMLA and explain the consequences if you failed to meet those obligations. Your employer also had the right to get a medical certification that you have a serious health condition. However, you did not have to disclose the nature of the illness, only that you had a serious health condtion. Your employer could've required you to see another doctor to confirm whether or not your illness qualified as a serious health condition under FMLA.

I don't think your employer terminated you because of your illness. It sounds like your employer terminated you because you told him that you were unable to work beacuse of a serious health condition. However, while you were telling this employer that you were unable to work and collecting sick pay from him, you were actually working at another job. This is probably why he considered you fraudently using sick time. If you weren't healthy enough to work two full time jobs, you probably should've resigned from one.

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