What are my rights as a returning employee while intermittent leave is still in effect?

UPDATED: Oct 2, 2022

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What are my rights as a returning employee while intermittent leave is still in effect?

I returned to work earlier than expected after my maternity leave. As per my case manager, I can still use the remaining days for care for newborn so technically I am still on intermittent leave. I am working at home for as a call center agent for a medical insurance. During my return, my previous supervisor and I didn’t expect that I’m going to have issues with my system. I also requested for a re-training or refresher course to perform my job duties comfortably since I was out for 5 months. I still have on going issue with my cable system and

waiting for the vendor to move it to my new room so I can take calls. Yesterday, my new supervisor asked me to go to the office which is 51 miles away from home. Due to financial issues, I found that it’s impossible for me to go to the office but possible to still work at home if I resolved my cable issues. So my fiance found a way to finally connect my cables just for me to be connected to the internet and fulfill other functions related to my job. However, there was another issue that came up. My supervisor gave me a link that couldn’t connect me to start taking calls. Take note that I am requesting for a refresher course, which my previous supervisor agreed with, before I start taking calls for medical insurance. A tech support for my system also told me

that going to the office wont resolved my issue, however I was served with a disciplinary action that resulted to insubordination to which I already provided the reason that due to financial issue, I couldnt go to the office. My supervisor even told me that it looks like Im not performing my job well and I was just passing time when in fact I was just too slow because I am familiarizing myself again with the process but was able to finish it. Due to my pregnancy leave, my system got affected which I wasn’t aware of and was not advised that it’s going to happen. Is this a mistake on my part? Am I entitled to be re-trained after a 5 long months of leave since we are dealing medical insurance, state laws and regulations? Is it unlawful to be served with disciplinary action despite not going to the office since our main concern was my cable issue which I resolved the night before having another issue? Am I entitled to be accommodated even though I’m still on intermittent

leave? Am I being discriminated at this point for having system issues that impacted my productivity? I feel like I am being discrimated because of this and there is no plan/course of action before I return back to work so I can perform my duties and responsibilities at work.

Asked on September 4, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

1) There is no right to retraining after leave. It may be a good idea, but its not required that your employer provide it. The employee must keep herself up to date, etc. 
2) There is no right to work at home as an accommodation if offsite or remote work was not how your job was structured previously. A reasonable accommodation lets you do the job as it was structured and you had been doing it; it does not require turning an onsite job to an offsite job.
3) If you are allowed to work at home, it's your obligation to make sure your computer system, internet connection, etc. will support that, unless your employer specifically took on that obligation or responsibility. It's like with going to work: it's your obligation to get there, and if your car is in the shop *you* have to find another way to get there--and can be disciplined if you don't. You cannot use problems with your home technology to escape discipline or sanctions.
4) You may be disciplined for issues impacting your productivity. Your responsibility is to be productive; it's not your employer's to make you productive.
5) "Economic hardship" does not entitle you to work remotely or not come into the office--it may be a good reason to seek other employment, but that is your cost-benefit decision. In the meantime, as long as you have this job, you have to be willing and able to come into the office.
Employment is employment at will; you don't have a right to a job, and so it's your responsibilty to make the job work, not the employer's to make it work for you. If you are unproductive, do not do or accomplish what you should, etc. you may be disciplined. 

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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