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Requesting Medical Documentation

Hello Brothers and Sisters! How many of you are as frustrated as I am at dealing with this inane and asinine sick call answering machine? I had some health problems lately where I had to call in and listen to this electronic “supervisor” ask me those ridiculous questions and having to “say” or enter my answer by the numeric keys on my phone. It got to the FMLA section and inputted my case number and of course the idiotic electronic stupidvisor did not recognize my FMLA case number so I had to go through the menu of stupid questions! I’m in pain and on medication now I have this huge “pain in the ass” program to deal with!

To top things off I get a letter from the guys at the FMLA office, delivery confirmation of course, that the call I made shows that I may have a new condition and I should contact them! Well, get on the phone yourself for chrissakes and take my call when I’m sick so I don’t have to deal with two idiots! Nothing like bureaucracy to help you along in times of ill health! Who thought of this stupid electronic call in? Oh yeah, that’s right…IDIOTS DON’T KNOW THEY’RE IDIOTS, till we show them!

If anyone needs to know their rights under sick leave, they should direct themselves to the ELM sec. 513. Every steward should know this section by heart. We deal with this practically every week with moronagement trying to assert their power by making carriers go to the doctor for one day of sick leave.

This is a no-no. Unless the carrier is on restricted sick leave or has a poor sick leave or attendance record, no carrier should be required to submit documentation 3 days or less of sick leave. Many stupidvisors think that they can just ask you for documentation at any time because, well, they said so! That is wrong! They must have a substantial reason to require med. documentation. They either think you are faking it and can back that assumption up, you threatened to go home because of a disagreement with them then did, or you have a bad sick leave record. Just putting down “protection of the service” is insufficient if they do not have a valid reason. You should ask yourself what interests of the service are they protecting?

I had a supervisor in one of my stations put that on the 3971 and said she could put that down because the JCAM said so! That’s true, but there must be reasons to do it I told her. She had no idea what protection of the interests of the postal service meant. She just thought by putting it down allowed her to ask anyone for med. documentation. Well, so much for the in depth training King Bob and Captain Pete give to lower rung stuperviors! By the way, they are ones we have to deal with…the uneducated ones.

If you don’t believe me ask any steward, or just ask a stupervisor a technical question on the contract and watch their eyes roll back in their head, foam at the mouth, shake, then mumble some incoherent answer. They short circuit! How that happens I don’t know since you have to have a point A to point B to short circuit. Most of the supervisors I deal with barely have a point A on contractual issues! Here’s another example. At my home station they didn’t want to award a T-6 detail to a carrier. They said he didn’t put a mini bid in on time, so he doesn’t get the hold down. Well, Bozo Breath, any steward worth his salt knows that T-6 positions are NOT hold downs. They are awarded by Art. 25 and are a higher level assignment and MUST be given to the senior most qualifed carrier who requests it! Well, his eyes rolled back in his head, foamed at the mouth, then read, and reread the JCAM while I waited. He called the B team, he reread again, eyes rolled back again. And so on….we settled it. Old Foamy was wrong again.

Just another example of lack of their contract knowledge. Moronagement prides themselves so much in being so educated in the contract that they created a whole department called Labor Relations where they can call someone else to get the answer! My aren’t they proud! Let’s spend thousands of dollars for a whole department because supervisors can’t READ, COMPREHEND, or figure out their own contract! But I digress….

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Getting back to request for medical documentation… For one thing be sure of what they ask for. A request for DOCUMENTATION does not necessarily mean medical documentation. Ask that upfront. Sometimes they may only want or need a receipt from the pharmacy that you bought Nyquil or an over the counter medication. That could be documentation that you were ill. This is rare if this is all they wanted, but I was told that this was acceptable from the FMLA supervisor in charge in West Palm Bch. Now if they ask for medical documentation this triggers Sec. 513.361 of the ELM ( Found here 513 Sick Leave ). They must have a valid reason for the request if it is 3 days or less. They cannot arbitrarily ask you to go to the doctor without a valid reason. You should ask why you must get medical documentation for 3 days or less. Get an answer. Because “I ‘m the boss and I said so!” is not a valid reason and shows that they have no valid reason, so you should seek out your steward immediately. They must have a sound basis of fact to ask you for documentation. If ordered to get documentation, be sure to keep track of your mileage and your out of pocket expenses because when you win the grievance you will receive reimbursement for that.

The best way to deal with the documentation is to get the fax number from your stupidvisor for the Health Unit and fax the documentation directly to them. Your supervisor doesn’t need to know anything about your medical records. I would fax ALL medical documents to the health unit including return to duty sheets. There are privacy concerns and health issues you may not want your supervisor to know and this is the way you should handle it. Besides it makes them crazy when they ask you for the documentation and you state that the health unit has it! It’s like you took all their fun away! Wah- wah!

Don’t let them pull the wool over your eyes! Know your rights on use of sick leave. Sick leave is a negotiated entitlement guaranteed by the contract. If you are ill, use it, that is what it is there for. Don’t come in ill and get everyone else sick! If you have a legitimate reason for the use of sick leave, then this is what it is there for and what you have earned to use. Don’t be intimidated by mgmt. to not use your sick leave. This just hurts their pay for performance rankings and bonuses!

I wish all of you and your families the very best this New Year! Stay Healthy and Happy!

BE INFORMED! BE PROFESSIONAL! BE UNION!

Denny “Doc.” Belden
Aka: VetCarrier

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