Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about the rules for FMLA:

I have written before and am still having issues. Can you tell me the rules for FMLA? I took 4 days off last year for surgery and was given an “occurence.” When I confronted my employer and told her I gave her a month notice, and should not have been given an occurence for this, she stated to me they are such a small company they do not have to go by FMLA rules. Is this true? My husband is a supervisor and says anything over 3 days with a doctor note falls under FMLA and I should not be written up or given an occurence. Please help me with this, This is my manager as well as the HR person over me. If I go over her head, I will pay dearly.

Signed, Frustrated

Dear Frustrated:

Your best resource for FMLA rules is the Department of Labor website or your state Labor Department. However, I can tell you that an employer with under 50 employees does not fall under FMLA provisions. If your employer has more than 50 employees, you are covered under the guidelines and that coverage is a federal law.If you are covered, you should go over your supervisor to get this remedied or clarified, no matter how upset she is.You do not say what an occurrence is, but it sounds like a warning of some kind.

If you are not covered under FMLA, at least make sure you find out if there is any way to avoid negative notices for being absent in these situations. For example, by changing work days or using other time. Your situation is unique to you, but it certainly seems unfair to have surgery treated as a disciplinary situation, if you have given plenty of advance notice.The bottom line for this, of course, is to have a relationship with your supervisor that allows you to have open communication that is focused on solving problems like this. Try to approach her with a tone that requests her assistance rather than confronts her as though she is wrong. And, work to ensure she has reasons to want to help you. That isn’t being phoney, just being practical!Best wishes with this situation.

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina had a thirty-three year career in law enforcement, serving with the Denver Police Department from 1969-1994 and was the Presidential United States Marshal for Colorado from 1994-2002. She provides training to law enforcement organizations and private sector groups and does conference presentations related to leadership, workplace communications and customized topics. Her style is inspirational with humor.