Discipline for FMLA related absences (later certified)

I work for the Postal Service. I've received my certifications for FMLA issues, (4 in all), only AFTER receiving discipline for unscheduled absences. (Postmaster never informed me of need to use FMLA and never told me that these absences were being counted against me.)
FMLA coordinator says she couldn't certify the cases unless there was a documented absence related to them. Then after they were certified, based on these absences and corresponding paperwork, she is saying that because there was discipline issued already, I can not be covered by FMLA. Are these absences covered?
Also, can company be held liable for not offering or suggesting I might be eligible for FMLA?
On a related note, I am looking for an attorney to represent me in an EEO formal complaint against this same Postmaster. thanks

1 answer  |  asked Oct 29, 2007 4:46 PM [EST]  |  applies to Ohio

Answers (1)

Nancy Grim
FMLA

The FMLA coordinator comment, as you describe it, is strange. You can request FMLA certification in advance if you anticipate future absences due to a "serious medical condition" that qualifies under FMLA. And you do not need to say "FMLA." If you provided information that would tell the employer that you needed to be absent for a reason that would qualify for FMLA leave, then your employer was required to treat that as FMLA-qualified leave, for which you should not be disciplined.
Whether that applies in your case depends on the facts - what you said to your employer, etc. I assume that you are also protesting the discipline through your USPS union grievance procedure. (If you can beat the discipline, then you do not need to pursue FMLA liablity.)
As for the EEO - I do handle some Postal Service EEO cases. You may contact my office to review your case.

posted by Nancy Grim  |  Oct 31, 2007 2:43 PM [EST]

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