Family Medical Leave Act problems after husband's deployment


My husband received orders in January of this year to deploy. Once we told our children about the deployment they started having issues with anxiety resulting in me having to call off for work. My job has a max of 3 call offs allowed in 6 months and the 4th results in signing a document and meeting with management and probation for a year. This happened to me due to the kid's anxiety related to the deployment. When I found out about the deployment, I asked multiple departments at the hospital I work at what resources were available to assist my family with this stress of the deployment and was never referred to FMLA. I currently I have this for my kids and myself (after researching it myself) protecting me but at the time this occurred, I did not. Recently I feel targeted because of my use of FMLA and have now been blamed for an incident that occurred during the prior shift and carried over to my shift and could be looking at a hearing and corrective action but with being on probation, I could be fired. I am wondering if there are any laws protecting me or resources in general but also specifically related to the write up for too many call offs when they were due to addressing my kids mental health due to my husband’s deployment.

Jim's Reply:

I have doubts you'll find much help or sympathy. The first thing that strikes me is that your family was so upset that he was being deployed that your family unit sort of fell apart and now you blame your work issues on his deployment and the children. What did you expect? He's a soldier, he's going to be deployed. I was born at a Navy hospital to a career marine. My dad was gone all the time and we trudged on because that's what military people do. Your lack of support for your deployed service member bothers me and it won't make his deployment any easier. If you really want to pursue the perceived issues at your place of employment, you'll have to speak with a lawyer who specializes in employer/employee issues. I'd suggest that you look for some support in your military community before you do anything. Spouses with deployed service members have all sorts of groups to support each other, a good place to start.

  • PS from StatesideLegal:  There are certain protections for employees who need to take FMLA, described here.   If you are concerned that your employer make take adverse actions because of your use of FMLA, you can also request a low-cost consultation with a private attorney who handles employment disputes for employees, by contacting your local LRS provider and requesting that service. Use our "Find Legal Help" directory to identify the LRS provider closest to you.