FMLA retaliation/perceived disability/hostile work environment/intentional infliction of emot stress

I have an ongoing problem w/ my employer, a medium-sized city in northeast Ohio.
I have been using FMLA every once in a while for the last few years due to a depression condition. All of my abscenses are accounted for by my physcian.
However, these last few years have been HELL for me.
Non-stop harrassment by my employers for FML use has created so much stress for me it is virtually impossible to ever truly function w/o the depressive condition.
What are my rights here?
I am willing to come in for a consultation, I just need to know if it is worth my while.

Thank you very much!

1 answer  |  asked Jan 12, 2003 06:25 AM [EST]  |  applies to Ohio

Answers (1)

Neil Klingshirn
Consider filing a complaint of harassment

The FMLA prohibits an employer from "in any manner" discriminating against an employee who takes FMLA leave. This would include discriminatory harassment. The problem, however, is that the remedy available to the victim of harassment is recovery of lost wages and actual costs. Therefore, if an employer harasses an employee for taking leave but does not terminate the employee or otherwise cause the employee a financial loss, the employee cannot recover anything.

If the harassment is so severe that a reasonable person in your shoes would feel compelled to resign, you could claim that the employer "constructively" terminated your employment and seek your lost wages. However, it is very difficult to prove a constructive disharge. I do not recommend this without a clear understanding of the risks and what you need to prove a constructive discharge.

Another option is to file a complaint of harassment. This might make the harassment stop. If it does not, it could provide a better remedy of retaliation for asserting a protected right. I strongly recommend formulating the complaint with the help of an attorney, however, to obtain the most protection and to make sure that you do not unnecessarily aggravate the employer.

Best regards,


posted by Neil Klingshirn  |  Jan 13, 2003 10:24 AM [EST]

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