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

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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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


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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