When you’re unable to get FMLA papers from your employer, what can you do?

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When you’re unable to get FMLA papers from your employer, what can you do?

I had my job at the wholesale nursery for about 29 years. Having been on light duty from a hurt back, I had asked my employer for the FMLA papers. I wanted to start looking into disability and my employer told me he didn’t know what I was talking about. That is when my doctor had told me to get them. Also, the office manager told me the same thing. So I had to go with what they told me. I was also given a list of job duties I was to have my doctor sign and say which duty I could and couldn’t do. This is all fine except no one at the whole nursery had ever been asked if they could do any or all of those things on the list. When I had no respond from my doctor on the phone I was forced to miss work to go in and have her go over it. Having been on light duty for about the last year due to my back issues I was taken aside appoximately 2 weeks prior stating that I needed to figure how I was to depart my job that I could no longer do it. I hadn’t done it for the last 2 years but I continued to work full-time and overtime and get raises I feel I was let go when I yelled at another employee due to he had planned on getting rid of me. and found a easy way to do it. My doctor feels I was wrongfully terminated too. I was never asked my side of the reason for yelling. Do you feel that I have recourse with either wrongful termination from his handling of my firing? This is a new boss of 2 years, no complaints of my job duties in general. Other than I had to help in other areas that were

considered light duty.

Asked on May 12, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Oregon

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

First, unless the nursery had at least 50 employees located within a 75 mile radius, they would not have been covered by FMLA, so the whole FMLA issue may be moot.
Second, even if covered by FMLA, FMLA gives you at most 12 weeks of unpaid leave; since this occured 2 years ago, even if you had been eligible for FMLA leave, it would have expired a long time ago, leaving you in the same position.
Third, there is no actual legal obligation to let employees do "light duty": you are hired to do a job, and if you cannot do it due to medical conditions or issues, if the things you cannot do are critical or core or central to the job, the employer may terminate you; the employer does not have to retain an employee who cannot do what they were hired to do. So even if they voluntarily let you do light duty for a time, they did not have to; if that "light duty" is not what your position entails or what a worker like you is hired to do, they could legally let you go.
Based on what you write, this does not appear to be wrongful termination.


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