• Anyone have the unfortunate experience of being "terminated" from your job while out on disability during treatments?

    Asked by Julie99 on Sunday, May 19, 2013

    Anyone have the unfortunate experience of being "terminated" from your job while out on disability during treatments?

    I have been on short-term disability & FMLA ran out in April. The email I received from my HR dept last week said that they "need to make a decision whether to extend your leave or terminate your active employment - with the expectation that you will be rehired when you are able to return to work. Both options have significant - but differing - implications for the Company." My research on the American with Disabilities Act, I don't think this is legal but I don't know if I'm understanding it correctly (gotta love chemo brain!)
    With our benefits open enrollment this month & the plan year starting 7/1, I think they just want me & my treatment costs off their books.
    Does anyone have experience in this and now what options I might have?

    11 Answers from the Community

    11 answers
    • SueRae1's Avatar

      Hugs- I would speak to a lawyer ASAP - if they don't specilize in this type of issue, ask them for a recommendation for someone who does. Sometimes a letter and the threat of a law suite can make all the difference- but you need expert legal advice.

      over 3 years ago
    • karen1956's Avatar

      This happened to a friend of mine and she called a lawyer and low and behold, they had an opening.

      Call a lawyer ASAP and also call the EEOC and I forget who the other resource I called when I was aving work issues and they can also guide you....google employment and disability. Wishing you all the best.

      over 3 years ago
    • Nomadicme's Avatar

      Yes spend the money on a lawyer, it's well worth it (you should stop by the human rights office first, although in my experience they're woefully ineffective).

      over 3 years ago
    • AlizaMLS's Avatar

      Hi Julie99,

      I'm Aliza, a BC patient and the site's unofficial resident Medical Librarian. I'm retired now (medically - not because of BC-I'm also a Lupus patient), but I was a Union Rep for a number of years and an acquaintance of one of the original writers of the ADA. Yes, what your employer is doing is illegal and everyone here gave you excellent advice-go see an attorney asap!! Threaten to go to the papers, the news, etc, Raise holy h---!!

      I read what Nomadicme wrote and I'm guessing (could be wrong) that when she wrote "stop by the human rights office" she actually meant stop by the human resources office. No matter-she's right. Both are usually completely ineffectual and want to get rid of "problem employees" whether that be because of a productivity problem or a health problem. You should not (yourself) take an aggressive stance with them just be pleasant and assertive. Let the lawyer come on strong!!

      One other important thing about ADA to bear in mind. Your company only needs to follow ADA if they have 100 or more employees. If they are smaller than that, they can fire you (check with an atty) but then they're considered a small business and you're considered more essential and they can't just shift someone from another dept. into your place and hold your job (I'm a bit familiar with ADA as I've had to request reasonable accommodation for myself at an earlier time).

      Best of luck,

      over 3 years ago
    • BuckeyeShelby's Avatar

      I've not seen it w/cancer treatment. But I used to be a workers' comp adjuster. One of my clients would routinely fire injured workers once their FMLA ran out. Used to make me sick. I was WAY to liberal for WC. They created FMLA to protect workers, but it really protects the employers, if HR wants to use it as a sword. Good luck.

      over 3 years ago
    • Eps23's Avatar

      Definitely get a lawyer. Find one who specializes in labor law. You can contact your local bar association for recommendations. Good luck

      over 3 years ago
    • JennyMiller's Avatar

      The Corporate World has gotten so cold with no regard for the employee who has served them well in the past - all they care about is the bottom line number!! This is the reason I retired from my Management Position (after 21 years) in a large corporation and accepted a Business Manager Position at our Church/School Complex for half the salary I was getting . Do not let them treat you like just another number. You are so much more than that -- get legal help and fight them!!! Good Luck!

      over 3 years ago
    • Nonnie917's Avatar

      No I haven't, but it sure sounds like a complaint for L&I. I would be doing some checking into that if I were you. Sounds like what they did was illegal. Good luck.

      over 3 years ago
    • Jaimebrie's Avatar

      Hi Julie 99,
      I was fired from my job after I became so ill from chemo and could not go into the office for 10 days. I had my laptop set up by the IT dept. and tried to work from home, but I was too ill, having to be hospitalized several times. I had no short term or long term disabilty. I did get unemployment and had COBRA which drained my entire savings because it was so expensive, but I had to have COBRA since I was at the beginning of my treatments and what turned out to be 13 surgeries. I think you should consult with an attorney to see what your options are. I was referred to a fabulous attorney who truly cared about me and not his fee.
      I wish you lots of luck and stay strong and positive.

      over 3 years ago
    • bella's Avatar

      contact the American cancer society and they will either put you in contact with a attorney or one will contact you.They were very helpful to me as it can be legal as it was for me in the state I lived in.And after my FML I was let go after five years.Each state is different . I wish you the best

      over 3 years ago
    • nicki0920's Avatar

      I feel for you. I'm in a similar situation now. The difference is that I was terminated without my knowledge. I found out by having my health insurance declined in the doctor's office. After calling HR, I was told that I had been terminated the week before. Mine was also during the open enrollment period.

      They changed the termination date to the day I called in to ask what was up with my insurance. At least I got one more month of health insurance coverage out of the deal but I think they were just covering their butts.

      What they did wasn't ethical but I don't know if it was illegal. They didn't say that they would rehire me when I was able to come back to work. They said that I could reapply for my job if it was still open.

      I'm currently drawing unemployment. My doctor told me to apply for disability today since what I have is incurable and is considered stage IV. I feel like I'm stuck. Finding a new job is going to be difficult to say the least. All prospective employers want to know why you left your last job. As soon as the "C" word comes up, that's going to knock me out of the running.

      How did your situation come out?

      over 2 years ago

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