What can I do about a manager harassing and threatening me for calling in too often?

I’ve been with my company for 3 years now, I didn’t really call in often but recently gave birth is Nov. 2016, I’m breast feeding and have been getting mastitis due to nursing. whenever I get the infection I call in. I had to call in for once a week now and 3 days this week due to me and the baby getting sick. One of the managers is basically harassing and threatening me saying they have to take further actions and that I’m taking advantage and abusing the absence policy despite having doctors notes. Is this legal for him to do this, is there something that I can do about this?

Asked on July 1, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Colorado

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

There is actually no law allowing you to take sick time from work unless you qualify for medical leave (e.g. under the Family and Medical Leave Act; you can find the requirements for you, your employer, and the medical condition to qualify for leave on the U.S. Department of Labor website, and all three conditions--your eligibility, your company's coverage under the act, and the medical need--must be met). If you can't take leave under FMLA, you can only be out for a medical need if you have accrued/earned paid time off (like sick days) which you use. Otherwise, if you can't legally be out under FMLA or by using PTO, it is purely voluntary on the employer's part to all you call in--they don't have to allow it at all, and if they  do allow, because it is voluntary, may take action against employees whom they consider to be calling in too often. If you have been calling in once a week or more, which is what your question seems to indicate, for the last 6, 7, 8, or even 9 months, that is much more than your employer is required to let you call in, and more than most employers would let you. The doctor's note doesn't matter: the doctor has no legal authority to make the employer let you call in. So if you cannot or have not been using FMLA or PTO for these absences, you employer can put you on notice that if you keep doing so, they will take action; this is legal.


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