Ask the Lawyer received the following question (paraphrased for easier reading and clarity) from a reader on a legal matter that might be of interest to the entire audience.
In 2011, I exhausted all my sick and annual leave and took FMLA leave. Shortly after I returned to work, I was issued a leave letter and was told any leave in the future would be charged to AWOL, unless a family member or I was in the hospital. I had filed an EEO complaint and had an informal meeting, unfortunately because I was sick I failed to file a formal. I do wonder if the AWOL leave letter was a form of retaliation.
Now, I work for another agency and they have given me a letter proposing 30-days suspension. Is it legal for them to charge me AWOL even when I am sick with a disability like depression? If I am suspended, can it be over a period of time, like one day per week, or something like that, so I’m not deprived a salary as it would further depress me.
Yes, you can be charged AWOL even if you are sick if you have used your sick leave and do not meet agency standards of practice for granting advance leave, leave without pay or donated leave. Whether your suspension is served all at once or is staggered is a matter of discretion with your agency.
Bill Bransford is managing partner of Shaw Bransford & Roth PC.
Disclaimer: Ask a Lawyer publishes information on this website for informational purposes only. Information on this website is intended – but not promised, guaranteed, or warranted – to reflect correct, complete and current developments. In addition, the contents of the website do not constitute legal advice and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the attorney. Information from this website is not intended to be used as a substitute for specific legal advice, nor should you consider it as such. You should not act, or refrain from acting, based on information on this website without seeking specific legal advice about your particular circumstances. No attorney-client relationship between you and Ask a Lawyer’s author is created by the transmission of information to or from this site.