UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022
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I have been out on sick leave from June
07,2016 to current I was diagnosed with
bacterial meningitis and have been recovering
from that and other health issues that have
arises. I have Doctor notes to cover my time off
for recovery but my department manager insist
if I’m fine I can return to work sooner it’s very
fustrating because I’m trying to be in the best of
health before I return to work mind you I work
in a hospital. How should I handle a situation
like this? She does this to all of her employees
and they always feel obligated to return to work
before getting better.
Asked on July 3, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Hawaii
SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney
Answered 6 years ago | Contributor
If you do not have and are using enough PTO to cover your absence, and are not on FMLA leave (i.e. both you and your employer meet the criteria to be covered by FMLA, and you have properly requested it), then you could be terminated or otherwise disciplined for excessive absence, even if the absence is due to a medical condition: even when there is a medical condition, employers do not need to retain employees who miss work without using PTO or FMLA leave. Therefore, if you are not using one (or both, in combination) of those things for your absence, you may have to give in to your supervisor's pressure: if you stay out longer thant your employer feels appropriate when you don't have/aren't using PTO or FMLA, your employer could take action against you.
If you are using PTO or FMLA (and they have not yet run out), however, they can't take action against you for using them--PTO is something you earned by working, and can't be taken away (except pursuant to any written employment agreements or firm written policies which limit its use) and use of FMLA is protected by law. If you suffer any negative consequences for using your PTO or FMLA leave, you could contact the state department of labor about filing a complaint and/or speak with an employment law attorney about possibly suing.
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