Since you work in Pennsylvania, I cannot commeont on PA law. However, the FMLA is a federal statute. If you are able to show that you are being treated improperly based upon your FMLA request, FMLA leave, or future needs for FMLA leave then you may have a claim for "interference" and/or "retaliation" under the FMLA. It is worth contacting a local attorney who handles FMLA cases to get all of your facts on the table, let the lawyer debrief you fully based upon FMLA law, and see if you have a claim which can be resolved either by an attorney writing to your employer to resolve the situation or advise that litigation may be forthcoming, or filign suit under the FMLA.
I am a California attorney and not eligible to give legal advice in your state. My comments are for information only, based on federal law and general legal principles. YOUR STATE MAY HAVE ITS OWN LAWS THAT PROVIDE SIMILAR OR GREATER PROTECTION. If I refer to your state's laws, that only means I did a quick Internet search and found something that appeared relevant. You should not rely on any comment I make regarding your state's law. You MUST check with an attorney licensed in your state.
In addition to Mr. Address' excellent advice, 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. The guide may give you a better understanding of your rights and your employer's obligations.
To find a plaintiffs employment attorney in your area, please go to the web site of the National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA). NELA is the largest and most influential bar association in the country for attorneys who represent working people. The web site is www.nela.org, and you can search for attorneys by location and practice area.
Also, NELA has affiliates in every state and in many cities. On the NELA web site, you can look at the list of affiliates. Some attorneys will be listed in the affiliate membership list, some in the national organization membership list, and some in both. Being listed in one or both lists should not influence your selection because attorneys can choose whether or not to purchase the listing in the national directory. Each local affiliate has its own rules for listing.
I hope you can resolve your situation and wish you the best.
*** 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. ***
Before I respond to your inquiry, I must state that we have not spoken, I have not reviewed the relevant documents and facts, and I do not represent you. Therefore, my discussion below is not a legal opinion, but is informational only. Finally, my discussion applies only to issues to which Pennsylvania, New Jersey or Federal law apply, unless otherwise specified.
That being said, it sounds as if you have a claim of retaliation under the FMLA. You cannot be disciplined or retaliated against for acting on your FMLA rights. However, the big issue is really the evidence you can show to support your claim. It's likely that your boss' right hand man will NOT admit to what he said to you, and your co-workers need their jobs. Forming the right strategy to deal with this situation is critical; you should see an employment attorney ASAP.
/Christopher E. Ezold/
The Ezold Law Firm, P.C.
One Belmont Avenue,
Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004