Can I take a short paid leave of absence after a traumatic experience in the workplace?

Last night a man killed his wife. We knew the guy as a regular customer, so we didn’t suspect anything when he sat out in the parking lot for about a half hour, before spending another half hour drinking coffee in the lobby. I work at a privately owned restaurant chain. We didn’t suspect anything until the lobby was full of police wielding M15’s and the store was surrounded. We all rushed to the back of the restaurant and locked ourselves in the managers office until they apprehended him. It was very scary and I’m really shaken up by it; I don’t want to return to the environment immediately. I know I will go back but I think it may take some time, as I’m already a PTSD sufferer. Is there anything that I

can do without having to obtain different employment?

Asked on September 9, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Michigan

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

There is NO right to a paid leave of absence. You can obviously use paid time off (e.g. sick or vacation days), if you have any; you can *ask* your employer about whether they will voluntarily give you paid leave, or if not, an unpaid one--but it *is* voluntary for them, and they could refuse to; or if your location employees at least 50 people, you have worked there for at least one year and at least 1,250 hours in the past 12 months, and you get a doctor's diagnosis of PTSD, you could use the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave.


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