I suffer from anxiety and depression, for which I have been treated for over 8 years. I have been working at a call center for 15 months, and the company has more than 50 employees.
I have already told my employer that I intend to take the FMLA but I have not received any kind of feedback from my employer. In fact, my supervisor has ignored me every time I bring it up. What can I do?
Employment / Labor Attorney
I am a California attorney and cannot give legal advice in your state. My comments are information only, based on federal law and general legal principles. YOUR STATE MAY HAVE ITS OWN LAWS THAT OFFER SIMILAR OR GREATER PROTECTION. If I mention your state’s laws, it only means I did a quick Internet search and found something that looked relevant. You MUST check with an attorney licensed in your state to learn your rights.
You can and should communicate with your employer about FMLA and any other legal matter only in writing, keeping copies for yourself at home (not at work . . . things disappear). Employers tend to take written communications more seriously, plus you may need proof of the communications if things do not go properly.
If your communication was directed to your boss, try directing the next communication to human resources; again, do it in writing.
If this doesn't work, the obvious next step is to retain an attorney to assit you in obtaining your legal rights. You are likely to have to pay for this assistance on an hourly basis, but the attorney may be able to negotiate reimbursement from the employer.
You can also file an administrative charge with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). Please follow this link for more information: http://www.dol.gov/whd/fmla/
All that said, if your employer is not complying with the law at this early stage, it does not bode well for its willingness to comply with the law and allow you to exercise your legal rights to FMLA leave without negative consequences. Once more, this suggests a need to work with an attorney.
You may also have rights under the ADA if your anxiety and depression meet the definition of "disability" under the ADA, which they probably do if they have been going on for eight years. Under the ADA, a leave of absence may be a reasonable accommodation.
Please look at my Avvo guide on the Family and Medical Leave Act, 29 U.S.C. section 2101 et seq. (FMLA): http://www.avvo.com/pages/show?category_id=6&permalink=family-and-medical-leave-fmla-summary-of-key-provisions.
Please look at my Avvo guide on the ADA: http://www.avvo.com/pages/show?category_id=6&permalink=disability-discrimination-in-employment.
You can find a plaintiffs employment attorney on the National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA) web site www.nela.org. NELA is the largest and most influential bar association in the country for attorneys representing working people. You can search by location and practice area. Also, NELA has affiliates in every state and many cities which are listed on the NELA site. Not all NELA attorneys are named on the web site or affiliate site. This should not influence your selection; attorneys can choose whether or not to purchase a listing in the national directory, and each affiliate has its own rules for listing.
I hope you can resolve your situation and wish you the best.
twitter.com/MikaSpencer *** All legal actions have time limits, called statutes of limitation. If you miss the deadline for filing your claim, you will lose the opportunity to pursue your case. Please consult with an experienced employment attorney as soon as possible to better preserve your rights. *** Marilynn Mika Spencer provides information on Avvo as a service to the public, primarily when general information may be of assistance. Avvo is not an appropriate forum for an in-depth response or a detailed analysis. These comments are for information only and should not be considered legal advice. Legal advice must pertain to specific, detailed facts. No attorney-client relationship is created based on this information exchange. *** Marilynn Mika Spencer is licensed to practice law before all state and federal courts in California, and can appear before administrative agencies throughout the country. She is eligible to represent clients in other states on a pro hac vice basis. ***
If the company employs more than 50 persons, they must have a human resource department. You should go directly to that department and explain your circumstances. In addition, you may want to discuss the fact that your supervisor is ignoring you.
This is my opinion and should not be construed as legal advise for your specific case as there are many more facts which you have not provided.