I need some advice guys?

Discussion in 'UPS Discussions' started by MechanicForBrown, Mar 26, 2009.

  1. MechanicForBrown

    MechanicForBrown Prblm found,part on order

    Hello everyone, just your favorite hairy mechanic here!

    I am having trouble with my management and union Stuart in regards to my intermittent FMLA( Family Medical Leave Act ).
    So to give some background, I am aloud 5 occurrence's in a rolling twelve months for sick time, I currently have 8 and because of this I have been issued a warning letter, My occurrence's have been racked up because my son who is 14 months old has been sick constantly for most of his short life thus far. I had a sit down with my sup a month ago and we discussed that if I continue to be out sick I will get a warning letter. @ the time we had that talk I only had seven occurrence's.

    Well I got my 8th one a week later and them came the meeting with union Stuart, sup, fleet sup and myself, @ that meeting we discussed options to get my absences under control, that conversation went from what does your wife do for work? (teacher), who carries the benefits? ( me), and who's job is more important? ( they tell me its me cause I make double her salary), they then told me I need to discuss this situation with her and let her know that she needs to stay home when our son is sick and I HAVE to come to work! They also said don't worry about her job because she can teach anywhere and you can't get a job like this anywhere.

    I snarled back and said you guys have no right to tell me what I have to do in my marriage or with what my wife needs to do, I have a child to support and a mortgage to pay like everyone else.
    After some brain storming they asked if she could go on FMLA and I said no because she didn't meet the requirements and wasn't in that position for at least a year, but I am eligible too go on it! Well thats what I did, I was approved for intermittent FMLA Just last week, All this time just so you know we've been seeing different pediatric specialists for an answer as to why my son is so sick all of the time, One doctor is testing for Cystic Fibrosis, the other for gastrointestinal problems and the third for other lung issues like severe asthma!

    Well wouldn't you know it 2 days ago on the 24th I had to stay out because we where in a children's hospital in Boston Ma. getting some tests done and a procedure done, so I call work and tell them this and to put me out as Family leave for the day. No problem until I need today off for him not breathing right and a double ear infection, so I call work again and this time I get crap about not abusing this FMLA and your not supposed to be out multiple times in a week and YOUR WIFE NEEDS TO SHARE THE RESPONSIBILITY! I can't believe I'm hearing this? Why? and if it continues should I look at it as Harassment??

    My wife is not aloud any days off what so ever unless she has time accrued, which she does not. Her company policy is that all time off must be paid period!! no exception to this rule, if not followed then they will terminate as they are an accredited school and need to keep their certifications.

    I'm lost and don't know what to do or who to talk to, please HELP, any advice would be appreciated. My union Stuart which I believe is supposed to be non judgmental about issues with employees feels the same as my management does and has kind of told me the same thing they have.
    Thanks every one!!!:knockedout::dissapointed::angry::sick:
  2. steeltoe

    steeltoe New Member

    You are approved for FMLA and getting this from the company and your (stuart) Steward? First, you need to call your local. Give them a chance to rectify. If not rectified ,then call the labor board, then your congressman. They are breaking the law. This is a federal law and if you have been approved, take action.
  3. cachsux

    cachsux Wah

    First contact your HR department and file a complaint with them. Then your local office office of the NLRB and file a complaint with the agent there.

    Lastly your are also able to take legal action privately through an attorney.
    I think you`ll find the agent from the NLRB will help clear thing up. On top of it contact your BA and file a grievance for whatever article in your contract that covers FMLA.

    UPS tried this with me when our last child was born with a disability stating that since my wife owns her own business she could take time off whenever needed and that I was not eligible for FMLA leave. The agent from the NLRB along with a pull no punches letter from our attorney got the matter straightened out in less than a week.

    Good luck with your child.
  4. pretzel_man

    pretzel_man Well-Known Member

    Here is what the DOL says:

    " Eligible employees may take FMLA leave on an intermittent or
    reduced schedule basis when medically necessary due to the serious
    health condition of a covered family member or the employee or the
    serious injury or illness of a covered servicemember. See Sec.
    825.202. Eligible employees may also take FMLA leave on an intermittent
    or reduced schedule basis when necessary because of a qualifying
    exigency. If an employee needs leave intermittently or on a reduced
    leave schedule for planned medical treatment, then the employee must
    make a reasonable effort to schedule the treatment so as not to disrupt
    unduly the employer's operations."

    I'm guessing the bold part will be the question. I would think you need to show that you made a reasonable effort to schedule treatment.

  5. cachsux

    cachsux Wah

    The only problem is ,that anyone who has ever gone to a doctor knows,doctors make appointments based on their schedules not UPS`. Mech is eligible to take time as needed,regardless. UPS has more than one employee. His child has only one father.
  6. pretzel_man

    pretzel_man Well-Known Member

    The law says that he has to make a "reasonable effort" to schedule treatments.

    You are saying that he should "take time as needed,regardless".

    I vote for "reasonable effort". Both UPS and Mech need to deal with being reasonable.

  7. pickup

    pickup Well-Known Member

    Mechanic for brown: I am replying to your posting and I want to first say steel toe gave a better answer for your job situation than any I could could come up with.
    I am addressing another related issue that you brought up but didn't ask for help so I hope you don't find what I am about to say intrusive.

    On another post, you posted a picture of yourself and your family with the mentioning of "a kid who is sick more often than he should be".

    Well, what jumped at me was the redness of his face (is there a little puffiness too?) . Let me ask a couple of questions, was this child breast fed? If yes, did he have these problems then? Did he at some point go to milk formula or just milk? If so did the problems start then?

    I am trying to be brief here but I went to the cystic fibrosis website and saw the symptoms and they just happen to be the same symptoms of a kid who can't handle milk ( specifically pasteurized cow's milk) . The production of mucus to encapsulate something that the body finds objectionable is a defense reaction of the body. In addition, milk itself is mucus like ( I believe Borden the maker of glues is also one of the largest milk producers in this country , coincidence?) So, basically we have a gastrointestinal system that can't handle the milk. A body that produces mucus in response to this . A substance (the milk ) that needs to find its way out of the body through mucus drip, through the pores of the skin the bowels which tend to get sticky with partially undigested milk as well as in the descending colon, where the garbage of the body gets deposited for the garbage men to take out so to speak. does he have sticky slimy stools? Asthma: partially from the mucus obstructing the nasal passages and well as the tubes narrowing due to the histamine reaction (which is an allergic reaction) to the milk.

    Also, the ear infections due to the mucous mixing with any food in the mouth and throat falling down into the eustacian tubes that lead to the ears where the food ferments(bacteria) and nowhere to go for it is stuck there and hence ear infections.
    I believe there is a genetic marker for cystic fibrosis and should be easily determined. No? Yes?

    I throw this out there because i was this kid at one point with puffy bags under the eyes to boot. Ear infections, mucus, etc. Off the milk when I was 19, symptoms gone with some withdrawal symptoms in the first four days. I hate to diagnose and I was tempted to based on that picture alone. But now i read this and I am compelled to post even though it exposes me as more of a crank. I post this publicly because maybe someone else out there knows what the heck I am talking about. Could say more but probably said too much.
  8. cachsux

    cachsux Wah

    Example of reasonable effort: (Mech) "Can I get my child in at x O'Clock after my work hours?" (Doctor) No. (Mech) Ok I`ll come in when an appointment is available.

    Reasonable would be for Mech to offer to come in after said appointment or work up to when he would need to leave for the appointment. Even to offer to return after the appointment. But his leave covers more than just Doctor appointments. It covers therapy and even caring for the child at home. He does not have to let UPS know which Doctor he is going to. He simply needs to inform his sup that he will need an upcoming day off if he knows ahead of time or just call in if something unforeseen arises.
  9. sano

    sano New Member

    I know nothing about this issue however, I just want to say that it is very kind of you to take the time to type up the reply you did.

    I wish you and your family the best in this situation.
  10. dragracer66

    dragracer66 Active Member

    MFB.....I'm a steward and Cachsux is 100% correct. I have had 3 of my guys to the fmla and they came and left as they had to. Your supervisor is out of line and I would get your business agent involved with a simple phone call to your boss. Also maybe getting hr involed might not be a bad idea either. I hope all comes out ok for you and your son!!!!! Good Luck.....
  11. MechanicForBrown

    MechanicForBrown Prblm found,part on order

    Well, I appreciate the response, I have read this and I under stand it well, my biggest problem is not making and effort to schedule around my work schedule but during my work week when illness can be a day to day thing and can come out of the blue like it has this past week. For the last two weeks my son has been generally OK, but just last night started up with problems again, I got him into the doctors today at noon and was told I need to stay home to treat breathing with a nebulizer machine, I start work @ 3pm and obviously had to call out. I have a good rep for trying my hardest to get appointments on Mondays which I have off and during the morning hours before work! but this does not always work for the doctor when sometimes they only have appointments in the afternoon or late afternoon. thank you though:peaceful:

    This is so true!!!:happy2:
    I don't think that your intruding at all and I welcomed that response, in fact we have already ruled out Lactose intolerance, they say for sure he doesn't have it and that milk isn't causing any of the symptoms he presents. The doctor has looked into that avenue already as she has seen this a couple of times before at our family practice, how ever I do appreciate the time you took to write this out, It feels good read how much people care at this forum, it's nice to have when you don't feel like you have much of an option with work, thank you so much for caring about a person you don't even know!!:happy2:

    First, thanks for the response. I am going to give it a day or two before i call my BA and try to talk to my steward again and see if we can resolve this without confrontation. i just don't , well I'm not one who wants to deal with retaliation with our current fleet manager! i have seen first hand the damage he can cause someone, to the point of resignation! I know I shouldn't be afraid of this but I'm not one to want the light shinning on me, I really don't need to grease my wheel if you know what i mean. But if it comes down to it and my job seams to be getting harder for some reason I wont hesitate to call the 1-800 number and get HR involved. Thanks for the advice:peaceful:
  12. pretzel_man

    pretzel_man Well-Known Member


    I am way out of my league on this, but I strongly suggest you consult help outside of UPS and the union.

    For my own curiousity, I read up on Intermittent FMLA and to my very untrained eye, you seem to be on the fringe of the law. Most of what I read talked about using this portion of FMLA for scheduled treatments. It also implied that it was for reoccurance of the same illness.

    It appears that there are many people that abused this section of the law (I am in no way suggesting that you are). There are lots of legal opinions on how employers can "better manage" intermittend leave and what "reasonable" means.

    I read where the law places the burdon on the employee to be proactive in working out the situation with the employer.

    I wish the best for you and your family. Maybe a $50 consultation with an attorney to get your rights understood may save frustration later?

    At a minimum, spend a few hours researching the law on the web. It doesn't seem straightforward to me.

  13. Billy

    Billy New Member

    I shall include your child in my prayers tonight. Good luck with everything
  14. trplnkl

    trplnkl 555

    P-man, it sounds to me that he has already hit a stone wall with trying to work it out with management. I do support the idea of talking to a lawyer as well as the union BA. Forget the Steward, he's a sell out IMO. It also sounds as this is a reoccurring illness, it just hasn't been properly diagnosed, yet.
  15. pretzel_man

    pretzel_man Well-Known Member


    Here is something I read:

    An employer can require an employee to work with the employer to schedule intermittent leave. The FMLA places an affirmative obligation on an employee requesting intermittent leave to consult with his or her employer in an effort to work out a treatment schedule for the leave so as not to disrupt the employer's operations. Thus, if an employee can procure necessary medical treatments during non-work hours or on the employee's day off, the employee must try to do so.

    This implies to me that the "work out" means before the need arises. In the case described here, this cannot be done because he doesn't know when an illness will arise.

    Again, I'm out of my league, but this is why I think this is on the fringe. I would want to know my rights from an expert.

  16. MechanicForBrown

    MechanicForBrown Prblm found,part on order

    Yes! this is the case exactly. They haven't been able to diagnose my son with any certain condition or say that something in any body system of his is causing him to be ill. the problem has always been that he's sick often, which is understandable of a 14 month old, this happens to some all the time, especially in day care, but when he's sick, IT'S always bad, breathing treatments, doctors or ER visit, lung infection or ear infections, then they just throw an antibiotic at him for 5-10 days! and they can't find anything!!

    The biggest surprise is my management team being negative so quick, I've only been on FMLA for 4 days!! Why do I need to hit a wall so quick? Theres no need for it!!:biting:
    I am not the one who abuses a good thing, i don't call in just because I feel like it, my family is THE MOST IMPORTANT thing in my life and wouldn't use them as an excuse for taking time off! And besides that, what doctor would sign FMLA papers if there wasn't a qualifying condition? I am definitely not a thief, period:surprised:
  17. tieguy

    tieguy Banned

    Its a shame your boss is not more understanding. With that said you still will have to balance our your committment to family versus your committment to employer. Obviously at this time your committment to family takes precedence. At some point you will hopefully get good news about your sons condition at which point you can then refocus more of your attention on your job. You have to try to take care of your son and still at least maintain some type of relationship with the boss. Can you work a different shift so you have less conflict between you and your wifes working schedule. Have you tried talking to your bosses boss to see if that lessens any of the issues you have at work? If you have exhausted all possible actions to lessen the conflicts at work then a trip to the HR department may be in order. Explain what you have going on and how you feel you are being pressured away from exercising your rights under FMLA.

    I sincerely hope your son comes back with a clean bill of health. GB
  18. Joopster

    Joopster Boxline Sorter

    I know a guy that has diabetes and takes FLMA 3 days a week.
  19. cachsux

    cachsux Wah

    Much of the language you have read and the new language being tossed about legally is more to do with the actual employee being the subject of the FMLA. If it is for a dependent,especially the newly discussed multiple doctor opinion language,much of it does not apply. Is there potential for abuse? Sure. But the burden falls on UPS to prove it. The penalty for the company to arbitrarily discipline or threaten an employee,especially in Mech`s case,is pretty severe. I would advise him to make a good faith effort to be at work when he can and to his job correctly but in his defense this isn`t like the general UPS harassment employees receive sometimes. If a case can be built he can go after the company as well as mgmt on a personal level legally. I was advised by our attorney to almost hope the company would fire me in my instance as the resulting settlement would negate a need to work for them in the first place.
  20. browniehound

    browniehound Well-Known Member

    First of all, for heaven's sake is your son OK? Did this come up in the meetings at all? If it were my son and his illness was life-altering I would care less about "occurences" and "warning letters".

    Does your center manager ask about the wellness of your son or does he only care how many absences you have racked up so he can nail you?

    Are you leaving something out because I can't imagine anybody being so callous to a sick child as your center team has been?