FMLA: When employer refuses to allow you to return

My supervisor refused to let me return to work after 3 day's sick time due to recurring abdominal pain. She stated that even with a doctor's release I was not to return to work until the cause of the pain was found, so I applied for FMLA. Can my employer force me to do this?


If you are able to return to your job, your employer should allow you to return. If you have any questions, call the US DOL Wage and Hour Office in your state and file a complaint.

The following is from the FMLA regulations that appear in Title 29 part 825 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

An employee may only take FMLA leave for reasons that qualify under the Act, and may not be required to take more leave than is necessary to respond to the need for FMLA leave. If circumstances change and the employee no longer has a need for FMLA leave (which could include a parent's changed decision not to stay home with a newborn child as long as originally planned), the employee's FMLA leave is concluded and the employee has an absolute right under the law to be promptly restored to his or her original or an equivalent position of employment.

Sec. 825.312 Under what circumstances may a covered employer refuse to provide FMLA leave or reinstatement to eligible employees?

(e) An employer may require an employee on FMLA leave to report periodically on the employee's status and intention to return to work. (See Sec. 825.309.) If an employee unequivocally advises the employer either before or during the taking of leave that the employee does not intend to return to work, and the employment relationship is terminated, the employee's entitlement to continued leave, maintenance of health benefits, and restoration ceases unless the employment relationship continues, for example, by the employee remaining on paid leave. An employee may not be required to take more leave than necessary to address the circumstances for which leave was taken. If the employee is able to return to work earlier than anticipated, the employee shall provide the employer two business days notice where feasible; the employer is required to restore the employee once such notice is given, or where such prior notice was not feasible.

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