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Can my boss tell me I can’t take FMLA leave?

If you work for an employer covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act, you may be eligible for a period of unpaid leave. (The Connecticut FMLA provides for 16 weeks of leave, but the employer must have 75 employees.  The federal FMLA provides 12 weeks of leave to employees of businesses with 50+ employees.  There are other requirements for both laws – see the United States Department of Labor  and the Connecticut Department of Labor.

However, in order to take leave, you must have a legitimate reason.  These include:

  • The birth of a son or daughter or placement of a son or daughter with the employee for adoption or foster care;
  • To care for a spouse, son, daughter, or parent who has a serious health condition;
  • For a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of his or her job; or
  • For any qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that a spouse, son, daughter, or parent is a military member on covered active duty or call to covered active duty status.

As you may imagine, people come up with some imaginative reasons for FMLA leave.  The following are real, and probably not legitimate, reasons given by employees for missing work:

  1. Wrong side of the bed: One guy said he missed work because he was crabby.
  2. One of those mornings: A woman said she got whiplash from brushing her hair.
  3. Voices from beyond: An employee said her psychic told her to stay home or something awful would happen to her.
  4. Priorities: Another said he wasn’t feeling well and wanted to rest up for the company’s holiday party that night.
  5. Unforeseen perils: A worker couldn’t come in because her chickens’ feet were frozen to the driveway.
  6. Basking in the glow: A worker claimed to have met a movie star and was spending the day with him.
  7. More grooming trouble: An employee was injured while getting a haircut.
  8. Veterinary detective: One compassionate employee’s dog was not feeling well, so he tasted the dog’s food, which made the man sick.
  9. Nothing to wear: An employee’s roommate locked all his clothes in a shed out of spite.
  10. Unforeseen perils II: A groundhog bit an employee’s car tire, causing it to go flat.
  11. Grieving: A woman said she had been up all night because her favorite “American Idol” contestant had been voted off the show.
  12. Rough weekend: At her sister’s wedding, an employee chipped her tooth on a mint julep, bent over to spit it out, hit her head on a keg and was knocked unconscious with a mild concussion.

(Via https://www.businessmanagementdaily.com/4180/the-dreadful-dozen-the-12-worst-absence-excuses-ever)