Can my Employer force me to take FMLA that i did not request

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Can my Employer force me to take FMLA that i did not request

I slipped on a wet surface in the lobby of my office on my way in my employer says because I was not on the clock and they do not own the building they are not liable ,but they would pursue the claim with building management. I went to the doctors who in turn gave me restrictions with the injured arm as well as 6 weeks of physical therapy I submitted this to my employer so they know that i will need small accommodation. They in turn gave me FMLA forms to have my doctor fill out. I did not request FMLA nor did my doctor say anywhere on my records that i would need to take time off. I have not taken any time off since the accident minus the day the accident occurred when i went to the emergency room. Can they force me to take time off rather then accommodate me for 6 weeks?

Asked on January 2, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Michigan

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

If you can't do your job due to the injury, then they can force you to use unpaid FMLA leave--or terminate you, if you do not, since the law does not require them to retain an employee who cannot or does not do his or her job.
If you can still do the core or important parts of your job without some accommodation, then they do have to accommodate you. Employers must accommodate employees with a disability to let them do their jobs, *if* that is reasonably possible. So it depends on what your job is and what you can do.
For example, say that you are a customer service phone rep or a recruiter in an HR department and you broke an arm while falling. You can still do you job, even if it is a bit more awkward, and they can accommodate you with, say, voice recognition software for when you have to dictate a memo longer than you can easily type with one arm. In that case, they should have to accommodate you.
On the other hand, say you are a graphic artist or designer who broke his or her dominant arm: you cannot draw, sketch, etc. without the use of that arm. In that instance, they do not have to accommodate you because you cannot do the core functions of you job. In this case, you'd have to use FMLA or be terminated.
So the answer depends on whether or not you can still do the core or important functions of your job.


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