May 2013 Moms

Long vent re:work

When I was going through the process of going on leave, the company I work for have me paperwork stating what leave I qualify for, which is law, and the paperwork for each to be filed. Paperwork stated I was eligible for FMLA. Just before my leave I discussed with my HR generalist about the fact that my husband and I were still considering our options as far as the CFRA job protected baby bonding time and he said that all I needed to do was inform them of my decision one way or the other at least 2 weeks before my FMLA time was exhausted. Since Abbie is still struggling with the bottle, I called and emailed about my intentions to take the time. That was 2.5 weeks ago. I only heard back on Monday while my FMLA time ends today. They are now telling me that I do not qualify for the time. CFRA has the same qualifiers as FMLA so I'm hugely confused. They then tell me that I never qualified for FMLA, that it was an administrative error but they will honor it but not CFRA because I don't meet the requirements. So now I have to be back at work within the next 7 days to maintain my employment. We made the decision to take the extra time based on the fact that my job would still be there for me which is what my paperwork states as eligibility for FMLA. I've contacted a labor law attorney who says I have grounds as I have in writing my eligibility and if I qualify for one I qualify for the other. This is their error and should be honored the same as FMLA.

So now HR and I have been going back and forth for a week and they won't budge. Now that I have a lawyer telling me I have grounds with different sections of the law to quote, how should I approach this? I don't really want to be that person who goes in waving the law in their face, but what else can I do?

Background: I've worked for this company for 10years come September. I am a corporate trainer for a well known restaurant chain, teaching many levels and positions of employment. Because of the nature of my job, when I became pregnant I was able to maintain my position while cutting my hours... In the first months I cut way back which in turn is why I am not meeting the FMLA hour requirements.

Also, Abbie is 9 weeks today and we have tried a bottle everyday since she was 2 weeks old. She will take one very rarely.

Our plan for my return is for the same hours I was at at the end of my pregnancy only teaching evening courses a few nights a week.

Sorry it was so long, but I needed to vent and possibly get some advice from any one other than my husband who is fuming with this issue...

Re: Long vent re:work

  • MrsRKJMrsRKJ
    1000 Comments 100 Love Its Second Anniversary First Answer
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    I'm sorry you're going through this!  I don't have any specific experience, and I know you said you don't want to "wave the law" in their face, but I would.  If your lawyer says you have grounds (which it definitely sounds like you do), have the lawyer write up a letter to submit to your employer.  I'd also get a letter from your LO's pedi stating your reasoning for wanting to take the extended leave (ie bottle) to attach to the letter from the lawyer (you'll probably need the pedi letter anyway - at least I did when I wanted to take an extended leave because my LO was early)

     Good luck! 

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  • That totally sucks. Do they know you've contacted a lawyer and still won't budge? Is there a meet in the middle option like taking unpaid time off with them guaranteeing your job back?

    While it would be ridiculously hard, eventually your LO will most likely take a bottle from someone else, provided you aren't around and she's hungry and it's her only option. Gah. I'm sorry!
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  • image jenb1205:
    That totally sucks. Do they know you've contacted a lawyer and still won't budge? Is there a meet in the middle option like taking unpaid time off with them guaranteeing your job back?

    While it would be ridiculously hard, eventually your LO will most likely take a bottle from someone else, provided you aren't around and she's hungry and it's her only option. Gah. I'm sorry!


    They don't know I've contacted a lawyer yet and I'm nervous for them to know because I am afraid they will see me as being a trouble maker. I am hoping they will make something work without going down that road. I am not receiving pay for my time off other than from SDI and PFL. My vacation is close to nothing since I took it for our late honeymoon last year.

    This bottle thing is a pain in the butt. I know she will eventually take it if its the only option but knowing she's screaming her head off and I'm not there breaks my heart... She has taken a total of 5 bottles combined since we started trying with only two being whole bottles. She's got it in her, she just prefers the breast.
  • image Shantxtell:
    When you cut back your hours did it cut into your FMLA/ CRFA?


    The qualifying time is 12mo before leave begins. I started my leave mid April. I cut my own hours starting in September because my morning sickness was completely awful. I started working back up to normal hours but by the time I got there I was not having an easy time being so close to the end of my pregnancy. The amount of hours cut had me 40 hours under the qualifying . So frustrating.
  • I guess it depends how far you want to go with this. Do you like your job? Even if you could win a lawsuit, are you willing to drag your employer to court? Also, how much time are you trying to take off would make a difference to me. Are they saying you have to return at 10 weeks, and you want to wait until 12? If it were me, I don't think 2 weeks would be worth burning bridges.
  • image BeckyTheEngineer:
    I guess it depends how far you want to go with this. Do you like your job? Even if you could win a lawsuit, are you willing to drag your employer to court? Also, how much time are you trying to take off would make a difference to me. Are they saying you have to return at 10 weeks, and you want to wait until 12? If it were me, I don't think 2 weeks would be worth burning bridges.


    I can honestly say that I do love my job. I do not want to drag anyone to court, but I have rights and I don't think that they are being honored. The people I am dealing with are in our corporate offices in Ohio so they don't know me from Eve in any of the other markets we serve. I've considered calling the president of our market with whom I work closely, but I'm afraid it's going to look like I'm stirring the pot or calling in a favor... Corporate says to be back within the week to keep my job when baby bonding time would end mid September so it's not a small amount of time... I really just want them to just honor what they put in writing and protect my job. The woman I partner with has not had to pick up extra work as our boss has stepped in on her own to assist and observe for the development of our program. Summer is our slow time anyway so they are absolutely not hurting without me...
  • image Shantxtell:
    After re reading your post, my understanding is that your HR misinformed you that you were qualified for FMLA and CFRA, but you actually didn't have the hours?
    If this is the case, I would not kick up a stink. It sucks, but to be honest you should count yourself lucky that you got the time off that you did since you didn't technically earn it KWIM?
    They can't penalize you for the time you have taken since it was their mistake, but they shouldn't have to give you more.


    Yes I do see that however my husband and I would not have made decisions the way we did based in their statement of my eligibility. The labor law attorney says that since they are honoring the FMLA qualifiers which go hand I hand with the CFRA qualifiers they are technically honoring both but they won't process it that way. I see what you mean by not working the necessary hours, but after nearly 10 years I believe that I earned my leave whether or not it was within the 12mo timeline. This is the first time I've had to take any sort of leave of absence from my job. I don't want to start any trouble, but they made a mistake that they should be held accountable for the repercussions ie. the decisions that are made based on them. They wouldn't put an add out advertising a special and have guests make a decision to visit a location based on that and in turn tell the guest the advertisement was wrong and will not be honored...
  • image Shantxtell:
    Yeah, it's a crappy situation. I would fight to stay home for 12 more weeks personally, but I also don't care if my job is upset with me lol.
    I hope you can get this worked out.


    Thanks. And thanks also for reading and assisting with my vent.
  • It is a crappy situation. Do you have a local hr person to talk to? I would absolutely talk to my local or market/ state rep. It's not calling in a favor... It's protecting your rights. IMHO it would be different if you hadn't qualified for the hrs because had just started with the company... But a 10 year employee? Talk to people you know. Let them deal with corporate.

    The bummer is the time frame..

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  • I know some states have diff. Fmla laws. Not sure if this is the case for you
    but in IL you must be with company for at least one year or work x amount of hours. I would double check your state law to make sure they are complying. If u have been with company for 10 years I don't see how you don't qaulify unless the law is diff in your state. I didn't qualify for fmla leave myself since I started my new job around 6 months pregnant. I took 6 weeks of medical leave.
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