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Can my employer expect me to do work while on unpaid FMLA leave?

I guess I shoudl start out by saying I am a teacher and we are talking about lesson plans. I am required to post my lesson plans on a server once a week. While i was on FMLA maternity leave, I had a substitute teacher. The long term sub had a bachelor's degree in teaching in my subject area. Our employee handbook says that the teacher should provide lesson plans when possible, but it also say that a long term sub is responsible for all the duties of the classroom teacher. I provided my sub with a unit plan and guidelines. I was in touch with him throughout my time off and felt certain that he was doing everything I expected. I did not post daily plans on our server and because of access issues, neither did he. Now I have been back at work for over a month and just yesterday my adminstrator raised her voice at me for not having lesson plans posted while I was on leave. She referenced a discussion we had prior to my leave in which I told her that I had a unit plan I was leaving and that I did not plan to be completely out of touch. I told her that I believe I did what I was supposed to do. What do you all think? Is it even legal for an employer to require any kind of work while an employee is on unpaid leave?

 

I am contacting HR, but does anyone know of a place online where I can find more info about the legality of this?

 

thanks!

Answer Question
 
Bwebb

Asked by Bwebb at 12:12 PM on Feb. 4, 2011 in Money & Work

Level 3 (18 Credits)
Answers (9)
  • i think you did exactly what you said you would and if it's not stated in the employee handbook then no you shouldnt have to. she has no right to be raising her voice at you
    Mrs.L.Mita

    Answer by Mrs.L.Mita at 12:19 PM on Feb. 4, 2011

  • FMLA does not require you to do anything but keep an employer posted about your return dates. You left him plans, as you stated, it was their fault if he couldn't have access to post anything. Dont worry legally you're covered.
    jade_Aidan

    Answer by jade_Aidan at 12:33 PM on Feb. 4, 2011

  • Sounds like you did what was expected. I have subbed for countless teachers who have not left a single lesson plan, even a unit plan would be welcome as far as I'm concerned. What I see could be the issue is if the sub you had did not follow through with good planning. Since you are the full time employee, your administrator probably took it out on you (even if not rightfully so).

    scout_mom

    Answer by scout_mom at 12:34 PM on Feb. 4, 2011

  • Quoting scout_mom: What I see could be the issue is if the sub you had did not follow through with good planning. Since you are the full time employee, your administrator probably took it out on you (even if not rightfully so


    Actually, they LOVED my sub and are considering hiring him next year.  I also have a collaborative teacher in 3 of my 6 classes (high school) and she knows all of our plans. We have been working together for 4 years, so I know my plans would get carried out. 


    I am contacting HR, but does anyone know of a place online where I can find more info about the legality of this?

    Bwebb

    Comment by Bwebb (original poster) at 12:42 PM on Feb. 4, 2011

  • I agree: you're not required to work while on unpaid FMLA.
    1smartcookie

    Answer by 1smartcookie at 1:14 PM on Feb. 4, 2011

  • I asked my DH this because he's a teacher. We're both pretty sure you are correct. It sounds like the administrator was unfairly asking things of you. I did haev a friend who did the sub's grading while she was on maternity leave, but that was because SHE wanted to. I think you did the absolute right thing.

    Do you have a union in your state? Could you talk to your union representative? If they're not talking about writing you up or anything, then you may just have to let it slide and chalk it up to your boss being unreasonable.
    Good luck and keep us posted. This makes me curious.
    SherriPie

    Answer by SherriPie at 2:17 PM on Feb. 4, 2011

  • I do not have a union - in this instance i wish I did!! My issue is also that this person yelled at me and has had other complaints about her for bullying behavior from several other teachers! I am going to HR in 30 minutes, i'll keep you posted! Thanks!
    Bwebb

    Comment by Bwebb (original poster) at 3:33 PM on Feb. 4, 2011

  • You are a teacher without a union or representation? That's just unusual. Anyway, I know that the teachers in my district have to have all the lesson plans completed for the entire time they are gone. But if it's an emergency situation, I would think that the longterm sub would make them. Good luck and let us know what happens.
    tyfry7496

    Answer by tyfry7496 at 11:28 PM on Feb. 4, 2011

  • We do not have a union. There is a voluntery organization that we have, but most teachers are not members and it is not in place to protect our rights. I have worked in 3 different school ditricts and this is the first place where there was no union!

    Anyway, as it turns out, my employers can ask me to have lesson plans for my sub, but while i am on long term leave, they cannot require me to do anything. I left daily lessons for 2 weeks, and beyond that a plan. I was in touch with my sub, and according to FMLA that was already more than I am required to do. So according to HR, I was right and my administrator was in violation of FMLA. But since she is not using it in writing or putting it in my evaluation, there is little I can do about it. Which is fine, I just wanted to make sure i was right and to make sure it would not be used against me.
    Bwebb

    Comment by Bwebb (original poster) at 1:46 PM on Feb. 7, 2011

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