I am a Code Enforcement Officer. Regrettably, I am trapped in a relationship where I have been the occasional victim of domestic violence. Recently I called in sick to avoid the embarrassment of going to work with a black eye. I was observed at the park with my child and now my (male) supervisor is threatening to discipline me, alleging I was able to report to work and perform my duties. Do I have any legal or other defenses?
I am more than a little puzzled about your supervisor’s insensitive reaction, and you may benefit greatly by communicating with him about your circumstances and appealing for greater understanding and compassion. However, employees have substantial latitude in determining what constitutes illness when requesting a sick leave (the assumption here is that absenteeism has not been habitual and there is no history of sick leaves abuse). The fact that you sustained physical abuse that left bruising, coupled with your emotional state of mind is your strongest and most effective defense in the event you are disciplined. Good luck and, perhaps most importantly, please seek social and psychological support services (often available through your employer) to remedy your domestic situation.