Employees that can no longer physically do their job... Balto MD

We have a problematic employee in our Mfg facility that constantly calls out sick, and has now claimed occasional FMLA leave to treat a personal illness. Aside from approved FMLA time off, she has been counseled on attendance issues. Whenever she is placed on a Mfg line that she does not like to work on, she suddenly becomes 'sick' - or calls out the next day. She was placed on a production line requiring her to stand near the line, and now she is having all sorts of 'feet' issues. We have made all possible accomodations. She looks for any excuse to call out. It's hard to enforce attendance policies to all other employees, when this particular person has many BS call-outs, and still honor her FMLA leave. She has so many convoluted issues, I'm afraid if we FIRE her for missing unapproved time, she'll mix FMLA issues into the pot. We've reviewed the requirements of the positions with her, so she knows what's expected. She weighs 350 lbs. Could THAT be why her feet swell?? It's so difficult not to be sarcastic when it comes to this individual that threatens to call her attorney every other day. Any action we take must ABSOLUTELY be within the letter of the law, and not able to be misinterpreted by her - or her attorney! Anyone else experiencing this???


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  • How often is "constantly". FMLA gives 12 weeks of leave per year with an approved slip from the doctor. There is a DOL web site ([url]www.dol.gov/dol/esa/fmla.htm[/url]) to get the forms. The employer is entitled to medical documentation on this form or a similar form when leave is taken. You may need to tighten up rules and start over if medical documentation was not required in the past. You should also inform the employee in writing that an absence is counted as FMLA leave. If not, they can claim 12 weeks more of leave. Also remember that FMLA calls for a serious health condition making you unable to perform the essential functions of your job. Finally, consider any remarks concerning obesity similar to a rattlesnake in your bed. If you "perceive" the person to have a disability the ADA is knocking on your door. Good luck.
  • I was concerned by your comment "we have made all possible accommodations." Were you accommodating a medical condition? If so, did you ask the
    employee to provide a doctor's statement? When someone raises a
    vague complaint about being unable to do certain work, you are entitled
    to and should give the employee a copy of her job description and ask
    her to have her physician indicate whether she can perform all of the
    essential functions of her job. If not, and you are "accommodating"
    her with little or no knowledge of her limitations, you are regarding
    her as disabled. Once you get more detailed information from the
    physician, you can determine whether there is any reasonable accommodation
    needed that will enable her to perform the essential functions.
    If you are speaking of FMLA days off as the "accommodation," it is to
    your benefit to ask for documentation and "tag" these as FMLA, so they
    count against the employee's 12-week period (she will still have to use
    her sick leave or vacation time). If you don't know the reason for the days
    off at the time and get a doctor's note later, you are allowed to
    retroactively designate FMLA.
  • In this case we would require a "fitness for duty" report from a doctor. We use the work well clinic thru a local hospital. We provide them with job description and work requirements. They return an opinion as to the ability of the employee to perfrom the required tasks. It is a good tool, so if the problem continues...then it is behavior not ability. Good luck!
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