Kim’s story — “My boss said I was faking it.”

Kim was experiencing a sudden health crisis. She badly needed time away from her job at a call center in Federal Way to recover—but when she requested the time off, her boss turned her down. 

She tried negotiating on her own again…and again…and again. Each time, she was told to report to work, or risk losing her job. Kim knew something was fishy, but wasn’t sure what her options were. So she got in touch with Fair Work Center. 

Our legal clinic supported Kim in negotiating paid time off right away to start her recovery. But it was clear she’d need at least a month off—and she didn’t have the sick leave hours built up to cover that time. We helped her through the complicated and lengthy process to secure a longer period of leave under the Paid Family Medical Leave program. As Kim started to feel better, she realized it wouldn’t be healthy to return to work under her hostile supervisor, who had been so unsupportive throughout her crisis, and so we helped her negotiate severance pay to tide her over. 

>>> Fair Work Center offers free legal consultations—and we count on your support to make that possible. Can you chip in $20 this #GivingTuesday to fund ongoing access to free legal help for immigrant workers like Kim? <<< 

Here’s what Kim has to say about her case: 

“It was unbelievable. I followed every company rule: I marked the time on my calendar, I used their software correctly to request sick time, and they still denied my request four different times. They were saying I was faking it. They pushed me to keep coming in, even though I was barely able to work. They thought I was helpless. 

I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t sleep. I was in a really bad situation. And if I didn’t report to work, I could get fired. I didn’t know what to do. I knew I needed a lawyer, but I was worried about the cost–I don’t have much money to begin with. 

Fair Work Center stepped in and helped me solve this issue. They called my boss and made sure I got time off right away. Then they told me about the Paid Family Medical Leave program. I’d never heard of it. I had no idea it was an option. The process was long and complicated, and my employer didn’t want to cooperate. So it was good to have somebody who knew the process keeping an eye on things to make sure the company followed the rules. 

I’m overwhelmed with happiness now that my situation is resolved. But I know so many other people also can’t get time off when they need it. My recommendation? Call Fair Work Center sooner rather than later.”

>>> This Giving Tuesday, can you pitch in $20? Your gift means we can continue to offer free legal consultations and support workers as they stand up for their rights. <<<