Its a sign of the times. Employee is out sick and the employer calls to pressure the employee to return to work asap. See story. A woman was recovering at home from a double mastectomy. The manager at the crafts store, Michaels, called her several times asking when she could come back to work. Kara Jorud was torn between fears for her job and the need to recover. Eventually she went back to work much sooner than the the three months to which she would have been entitled under the Family Medical Leave Act.
She could barely lift her arms across her chest when she returned to work. She asked her husband to come in one day to help her lift boxes. She was then fired for this breach of company policy.
Fortunately, even in bad times, the nation’s discrimination laws still apply. So, folks like Mrs. Jorud at least have a choice.
Ms. Jorud was one of the lucky few. She won her lawsuit and was awarded $8.1 million. As I tell my clients, yes, it is unpleasant when the boss calls you and pressures you. But, that sort of pressure can become very good evidence later. The court found that the employer’s actions violated the Family Medical Leave Act.
In a 2001 poll by the Department of Labor, almost one-third of workers said they did not take leave even when they felt they needed it because they feared they would lose their jobs. In the MSNBC poll accompanying the story, 62% of respondents said they felt pressure to not take time off for medical needs in this difficult economy.