Family and Medical Leave Act

1. Is Victoria covered by FMLA?

2. How should the supervisor have handled Victoria’s requests in the past? In the future?

3. Can the supervisor discipline her for excessive absenteeism? Why? Why NOT?

4. What should the supervisor do now?

Victoria has been a sales agent for a telemarketing firm in California for four years. The firm employees 240 people who take reservations for a national hotel chain when customers call a toll free telephone number. Approximately two years ago Victoria voluntarily moved to a night shift position.

Shortly after her move she began complaining to the night -shift manager that her immediate supervisor was picking on her. In particular Victoria alleged that her supervisor was constantly nagging her about taking breaks that were too long. She also said that the supervisor was deliberately scheduling her breaks at different times than when her freinds had theirs. Eventually Victoria’s complaining led the night manager to talk to the supervisor and those complaints seemed to subside. However, a new problem with Victoria has recently developed.

During her employment Victoria has regularly used sick leave. The company policy provides for employees to receive sick leave only as it is accrued, which means that an employee earns one day of sick leave for each month of employment. Because Victoria has consistently taken one day of sick leave each month, she almost never has accumulated any carry-over sick leave time. Therefore, she has been forced to request unpaid medical leaves of absence whenever she has had the flu or some other health problem. In the past these leaves have been granted to Victoria without too many questions beingasked.

Recently, Victoria requested an unpaid medical leave for the sixth time this year based on continued respiratory problems. The supervisor and Manager finally brought this to the attention of the Director because they felt it was becoming excessive. The Director granted Victoria’s request, but told Victoria that her medical leaves were becoming excessive and more leaves would result in formal documentation which could lead to termination on the basis of excessive absenteeism. The District reinforced that her absenteeism was in fact impacting her, as well as the whole groups”, overall performance. She immediately snapped back that her claims were legal and she was entitled to the time off due to her long-term respiratory problems which she states is covered under the Family and Medical Leave Act.

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