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Employee seeks intermittent leave under FMLA, fired instead

At some point in life most people will have to deal with a serious medical issue. But, even if a Colorado resident is lucky enough to avoid an issue on their own, they may still have to care for a close relative dealing with a medical condition. Fortunately, when either one of these situations arise, most Colorado employees will be able to benefit from the protections of the Family Medical Leave Act.

The FMLA allows employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to deal with their own medical condition, or care for a close relative going through a medical issue. One question some of our Colorado readers may have, however, is "what types of medical conditions qualify?"

The medical issue could be a physical condition that requires hospitalization and recovery time, like, for instance, having a gallbladder removed. Or, the issue could be both mental and physical, like sleeping disorders and depression. That was the issue for one employee, detailed in a recent report, but, unfortunately for this employee, her employer allegedly fired her rather than allowing her to take leave under the FMLA.

According to the report, the employee had informed her employer about the issues she was dealing with, and provided documentation from her doctors that the issue would be ongoing, but would only require "intermittent" periods of leave. This is a common occurrence under the protections of the FMLA, as the 12 weeks of unpaid leave do not need to be taken all at once. The employer in this situation, however, reportedly encouraged the employee to resign instead.

When an employer violates the FMLA, employees have the option of filing a lawsuit. This could serve two purposes: not only will the employee have a chance to address their specific situation, but it could force the employer to change their ways and act in a more appropriate manner when FMLA issues arise with other employees in the future.

Source: DesMoinesRegister.com, "Woman sues Ankeny over firing," Grant Rodgers, Jan. 31, 2014

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