FMLA request - Major Depression while on vacation.


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  • Can you clarify? Do you mean is it possible to have major depression while on vacation, or do you mean how is the process handled?
  • Xenabri,

    Your first post! Welcome to the Forum. :welcome:

  • Employee was on vacation and before returning to work expressed depression and would not return to work due to suicidal thoughts. Has requested FMLA. Employee has been with us over 16 years. He has expressed not having support from upper management and stated on his e-mail that this depression has been going on for over a year and due to the recent suicidal thoughts, he seemed professional help. This can also be looked as WC?
  • Thank you for the welcome. Looking forward to the advises.
  • I think FMLA is a given, assuming a doctor will certify his condition. Beyond that, you may have WC or even ADA concerns. I'm usually the last guy here to pass a question off to legal counsel, but this case has all the makings of a major headache and you might consider making that call.

    On a less serious note, I'd like to comment on Nae's response. If you have major depression while on vacation, you're doing it wrong!
  • I know this will be a headache based on the individual. He has mentioned in the past that he has saved e-mails in the event he needed it to defend his situation. We did review his performance back in October and staffing needs was mentioned and I went ahead and approved it and scheduled a follow up meeting by the end of this month.

    Based on what I mentioned above, can we denied the WC claim?

    Honestly, our plans were to terminate due to poor job performance but he got ahead of us.

    He has also mentioned after the sat down that he has been set up to fail due to an intolerable working environment and not given the tools to have the job done.

    What a nightmare :cry:
  • You are between a rock and a hard place.

    First, I believe it is up to the w/c carrier to deny the claim. File it as the employee requests and let them deal with it.

    Second, I have read of cases where a depressed employee went on vacation, but I am not sure any of them were in this country. The one that comes to mind was in Canada. The employee posted a picture in her swimsuit on a beach smiling on FB. The employer fired her, she sued and she won. She was on vacation on the advice of her therapist, and being depressed does not preclude moments of fun or happiness.

    So, I believe Frank is right. You need to tread carefully. Call your lawyer and have him help you along. If you were planning on terming for poor job performance and the employee asks for an ADA accomodation (time to get his act together) you could have issues. Let the lawyer and your carrier guide you.

    Good luck! I think you will really need it with this one.

  • Thank you both.

    I have been advised that stress WC claims are denied in Florida.

    We will see.

    Also, he is a key employee and we do not have to reinstate once the FMLA is done. Good news.

    If the WC is denied. Does he still have an opportunity to sue for a hostile environment? I am concern due to all the data he says he has about no support.
  • Do you have policies on harrassment, hostile environment and other types of discrimination? Do they include steps to resolve, like going to your supervisor or HR? You should have these in place, and if so, he must use the process you have outlined. If he does not, he does not have a case.

    At this point you only have a threat, but a threat is enough. Call your lawyer. You need to start making your conversations part of work product and therefore safe from disclosure. He can also tell you what steps to take to protect yourself. Even if the employee follows through, you will have everything in place to protect yourself enough should worse come to worse.
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