My Husband's Boss Is Forcing Him to Work with Swine Flu.

Updated on November 04, 2009
E.L. asks from Ozark, MO
8 answers

This isn't really mom-related, but you guys are so great at giving advice, I thought I'd give it a shot.

My family has been infected with what we think is the swine flu. We've called our doctors who have said that's probably what it is, but to just stay home and not go to the doctor and risk infecting others. My husband came down with it today and called his boss to let her know he wouldn't be able to come in tomorrow. His boss, however, said that if he doesn't come to work he will be fired. She also told him that he is lying- that if the doctor didn't want to see him then that meant he was fine. I know my husband will be fine, he's gone to work sick before and toughed it out. The reason this bothers me is because he works closely with other employees and customers. He also works around food. I hate the idea of him going around infecting people. I am also so angry that his boss is able to get away with this. My husband tried to call his boss' boss, but was told that if he ever did that again he'd be fired. It is a smaller company and there are no unions or anybody to go to about this. His boss also has a history of being extremely unreasonable. My husband thinks I am getting overly worked-up about this, and maybe I am, but my kids and I are also very sick right now and I don't want anyone else to be! I know there must be labor laws and somebody who can do something, I just don't know anything about how to do it. If anybody has any advice on what I can do, I'd really really appreciate it. I also want to know if I am overreacting and just need to let it go.

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B.B.

answers from Detroit on

send hubby to work with a "kit"
It should include a change of clothes, a puke bucket, wet wipes, a can of lysol, latex type of gloves, and face masks.

Hubby should wear the gloves and face mask all day and carry the rest with him where ever he goes "just in case".

Hubby should randomly spray anything he touches with the lysol... Yes, the coworkers will ask whats up... And he can tell them that he has the swine flu, but was told he would be fired if he didn't come in. :-)

Ok, yes, that will make the boss mad and may even make life more miserable at work for him... But it may get the point across...

Remember to look at both sides of the story here... Boss has probibly not been feeling well and is having pressure put on from above to get the usuall amount done while having employees call off because they are "sick" with no symptoms, have to care for sick family members, or really are sick.

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D.D.

answers from Detroit on

E. - I'm sorry you guys are sick, no fun at all. Unfortunately, MI is a Right to Work State which means you can be fired with or without cause - unless you are in a protected group. if hubby is a white male without any disabilities under the age of 40 he is not protected. If he does fall under a protected group then he could try calling foul and take the company to court. If the company has a handbook that provides reasons for dismissal he could refer to that.

I do agree with the lady who suggested asking the Dr to fax a note to his work.

I'm not sure, but I think foodservice industries have some pretty strict guidelines about working when sick - you may want to do an internet search and fax your findings to his boss - of course, without the Dr to back anything up you will have no proof that your husband is sick and his boss may fire him for 'faking'. You have to try to cover your bases - while still trying ot rest and get healthy.

Good luck and I hope you all feel better soon.

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C.E.

answers from Detroit on

Sorry I know this is late, but I haven't been on the computer all weekend. If he works around food and the public, call the Health Department! The Health Department has regulations about people being sick around food served to others. Also, the boss maybe in some serious trouble with even the possibilty of SWINE FLU in a food service industry.

Good luck hope your husband and family is ok.

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J.W.

answers from Eugene on

Read into the FMLA it might help you a little bit with this subject. I don't think your husbands boss can force him to work with a deathly illness. I would read up on the Family Medical Leave Act to be sure though. That is the advice I would suggest. You can also go to the doctor and get tested for the Swine Flu, it will take two days to get the results back. I hope this helps.

This is directly from their website.

http://www.dol.gov/esa/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs28.pdf

EMPLOYEE ELIGIBILITY
To be eligible for FMLA benefits, an employee must:
• work for a covered employer;
• have worked for the employer for a total of 12 months;
• have worked at least 1,250 hours over the previous 12 months; and
• work at a location in the United States or in any territory or possession of the United States where at least 50 employees are employed by the employer within 75 miles.

LEAVE ENTITLEMENT
A covered employer must grant an eligible employee up to a total of 12 workweeks of unpaid leave during any 12-month period for one or more of the following reasons:
• for the birth and care of a newborn child of the employee;
• for placement with the employee of a son or daughter for adoption or foster care;
• to care for a spouse, son, daughter, or parent with a serious health condition;
• to take medical leave when the employee is unable to work because of a serious health condition; or
• for qualifying exigencies arising out of the fact that the employee’s spouse, son, daughter, or parent is on active duty or call to active duty status as a member of the National Guard or Reserves in support of a contingency operation.

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K.M.

answers from Detroit on

Have the Doctor call the boss or send a note excusing him from work. If he still has to go in he should make sure to cough on his boss LOL no just kidding. She doesn't sound like anyone I would want to work for but you gotta do what you gotta do to survive. I don't think you are getting overly worked up I would be mad too since they are telling people to stay home on TV, Radio etc. if they even think they have the swine flu. I hope all of you are feeling better very soon.
K.

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A.H.

answers from Detroit on

E.,
I think you should have your doctor fax a note to your husband's place of business. I'd say the doctor would not want to have them to come in to risk spreading more exposure to other patients. (I don't think many are actually testing for it any longer.) Also, telling the doctor this gives you more ammunition (so to speak) if the boss does try to fire your husband.

Does this person what more people out of their place of business? This could be a lawsuit waiting to happen in my opinion, but I would say Human Resources (HR Dept) is your answer. FMLA is more geared towards other medical issues. Most people are getting over H1N1 in a few days with adequate rest, fluids and proper care. As someone that previously worked in the HR field, I am not sure the boss can do this if your husband can produce a note to excuse him. If he does have the note and the doctor backs him and the boss does this, not only will he end up with a place full of others ill; but the rest of the workers could have grounds for HR legal action if they are threatened in the same manner.

It sounds like this 'boss' has some major issues (or has an issue with your husband?). If it were me, I would have the doctor send the note explaining the entire situation and concern that the boss wants to have your husband coming in to his direct boss - that person's boss and the HR department.
I'd even threaten for FOX 2 News or something of the sort to cover the story. (Bet they'd love to get their hands on that!)

Stay calm and contact the doctor's office again. Good luck and get better fast!

My hubby suggested having yours make sure to let everyone know he may be infected with H1N1 and it was come in or be fired... Of course - I think he was flabbergasted when I shared this to get input.
I feel he should let his co-workers know, especially if they have small children as not many people are comfortable with the vaccine. (I am not vaccinating myself or my son.)

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B.H.

answers from Detroit on

Sorry this is sort of late. How did things work out?

I read your post and that boss sounds like a complete idiot who has no concern for her employees or the customers for that matter. If that is the way she runs a business he probably will be needing to find another job soon anyway. With management like that its hard to believe that they can stay in business. Where I work if I was to come to work sick everyone would have the worst attitude and problem with it. No one wants to get sick and no one wants to take that sickness home to their kids.
If you make sick people come to work then after a while you will have no employees on the job because everyone will be home sick. This idiot needs some type of supervisory or management trainging courses!!
Plus from what I hear of this flu you can barely stand with it let alone work!
I can't stand employers who care nothing about their employees. We are not in the dark ages and it should be quite clear by now that production goes better when employers care about the health and welfare of their employees.
If I were to drop dead 1 hour before I was to be at work the place would survive and the world would continue as it always had.
Sorry to ramble.

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H.B.

answers from Grand Rapids on

if his boss wants him to work, then he has to work. have him wear a mask. did u all get the vacines?

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