Reader Forum

Absences should be covered under act In the "Human Side of Engineering" in the April 2002 issue, the scenario depicted in the story "Is absence due to chronic ailment justified?" leads to a shaky decision by Plant Engineer Bert Benson. The absences described could very well be covered under the Family/Medical Leave Act.

06/15/2002


Absences should be covered under act

In the "Human Side of Engineering" in the April 2002 issue, the scenario depicted in the story "Is absence due to chronic ailment justified?" leads to a shaky decision by Plant Engineer Bert Benson. The absences described could very well be covered under the Family/Medical Leave Act. The act provides protection to employees who are absent from work due to a qualifying absence. Qualified absences are defined as:

  • The employee is adding a child to the family by birth, adoption or placement of a foster child, or is caring for the child within one year of adding the child to the family.

  • The employee requests time off or claims absence for care of a spouse, child, or parent with a serious health condition.

  • The employee is unable to perform his or her job due to his or her own serious health condition.

    • A serious health condition is one that generally requires:

      • Absence from work for more than three consecutive days that involves a course of medical treatment.

      • Incapacity caused by a chronic or long-term condition that requires continued treatment by a health care provider.

        • The annual hour allowance for FMLA is 480 hours. Ms. Greene's 22 absences last year only amount to 176 hours (264 hours if she normally works 12-hour shifts). FMLA qualifiable absences can be continuous or intermittent.

          Using these definitions, it would seem that Ms. Greene would qualify for FMLA protection due to her own serious, chronic health condition that requires continued treatment by a health care provider. Mr. Benson should take this into consideration before making his final decision whether or not to fire Ms. Greene.

          — Joel Belew

          Don't kid around with compressed air

          This comment concerns one of the situations written about in the May 2002 "Human Side of Engineering." In the portion "Safety violation: Be sure to take a hard and firm line," blowing a worker's hat off his head with an air hose was described as "harmless kidding around." I disagree with that evaluation. Compressed air is a dangerous force and should never be intentionally directed at anyone's head, face, or any other part of the body. Dirt or metal chips could be picked up by the air stream and imbedded in the skin or eyes. At the very worst case, air could be injected in to the blood stream through an open cut.

          —Michael R. Dunlap



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