1. Free Legal Help, Legal Forms and Lawyers. TheLaw.com has been providing free legal assistance online since 1995. Our most popular destinations for legal help are below. It only takes a minute to join our legal community!

    Dismiss Notice

In limbo after medical leave

Discussion in 'Employment, Labor, Work Issues' started by MG-RN, Jul 24, 2019.

  1. MG-RN

    MG-RN Law Topic Starter New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Jurisdiction:
    Illinois
    Hi,

    I work for a major dialysis company. For 5 years until July of last year I worked full time in a Chicago outpatient center working a consistent 1pm-10pm shift. I thought the grass might be greener in the acute dialysis side and transferred within the company. I struggled with the lack of routine in this position and went on medical leave in February after being hospitalized for appendix removal and a new diagnosis of depression/anxiety. I was covered by STD during this time. My MD gave me a return to work date of 5/1 and a medical accommodation request that I return to chronic dialysis with a set start time as I used to have (any shift). I have been in limbo since this time with no work/pay/STD. HR made aware of accommodation request in February. Some bullet points

    -Turned in my acute dialysis equipment before 5/1 estimated return to work date

    - HR says that work accommodation probably could not be met due to all new hires in chronic dialysis being required to work rotating shifts due to patient need. However, I was not let go, they said I could communicate within the company, they said they would look. Was told to possibly extend leave. I did not do this since I had a return to work document. The rotating shifts requirement was verified by my own research contacting managers in Chicago and the recruitment department. However, internal job searches outside Chicago show postings asking for specific shifts.

    -Not covered by my STD plan as I am able to return to work with accommodation.

    -Recently amended accommodation form to say I can work rotating shifts at a chronic clinic. However, all transfers still need to go through HR and was told I can not apply online. I did meet with one manager on Monday, but I was told more steps were needed such as meeting with her manager. Communication attempts with her and HR rep have been unsuccessful since Monday.

    Basically, I have been in limbo since the start of May with no form of income even though I have been willing to return to work. I did contact a lawyer who said she would help me with accommodation request for $2000 which I can not afford. I get the feeling I am just being strung along until I quit. Any advice would be appreciated.
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2019
  2. cbg

    cbg Super Moderator

    Messages:
    8,205
    Likes Received:
    1,377
    Trophy Points:
    113

    What disability do you have that you need an accommodation? Have you identified yourself as disabled and requested an accommodation under the ADA?

    Do I understand correctly that you were on medical leave from July 2018 through the end of April 2019?

    Do you understand that STD does NOT provide any kind of job protection?
     
    MG-RN likes this.
  3. MG-RN

    MG-RN Law Topic Starter New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1

    Newly diagnosed chronic depression and generalized anxiety disorder. The position I had triggered symptoms. HR provided a "reasonable accommodation" form that my MD filled out. I don't know if this is officially ADA. Company did not dispute the form, just that they could not create a new position for me satisfying accommodation. On leave officially from end of February 2019 to 5/1/19. I am still an employee and have not been let go. Just no job placement.
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2019
  4. Tax Counsel

    Tax Counsel Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    890
    Likes Received:
    453
    Trophy Points:
    63

    Then apply for unemployment compensation. Any time you are not assigned work for a period of longer than a week you may be eligible for benefits even though the employer has not come out and said you are fired. Applying for benefits will get you some income if approved and may push the employer to finally get off its butt and make a decision.
     
    MG-RN likes this.
  5. MG-RN

    MG-RN Law Topic Starter New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Thank you. I did not know that. I assumed since I was still an employee (they pay employer portion of medical) that I was in a catch-22 situation. Doing this won't make me pay back any benefits paid during the time frame will it?
     
  6. cbg

    cbg Super Moderator

    Messages:
    8,205
    Likes Received:
    1,377
    Trophy Points:
    113

    I don't know where so many people get the idea that they will be required to pay back benefits. There is ONE and only one, circumstance that I have ever seen in 40 years of working with employer benefits that requires a payback of any kind, and even then it is the opt of the employer and not a requirement. That case is IF you are out on FMLA leave AND you CHOOSE not to return to work after you are medically cleared to do so, your employer MAY require that you reimburse him for the health insurance premiums that he paid on your behalf during your leave. This does NOT apply unless your failure to return to work after FMLA is VOLUNTARY and applies ONLY to health insurance premiums, not to STD benefits, not to health insurance claims, not to ANYTHING except that one item.
     
    MG-RN likes this.
  7. MG-RN

    MG-RN Law Topic Starter New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Thanks for the info. My worry is that I refused to extend any sort of verified/ documented leave. I wanted to return with accommodation. I did refuse to return to work after leave without accommodation.

    My HR rep tried to place me in a position where we argued if the position met the accommodation. Then she basically stopped caring about my case, in my opinion, and I have been in limbo.

    I don't want to stir the pot and apply for unemployment benefits, as I might be going back soon after reluctantly changing my accommodations. However, I haven't worked for a while, so I will apply for unemployment if I don't get back soon. Thanks again for letting me know I could.
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2019
  8. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,020
    Likes Received:
    1,073
    Trophy Points:
    113

    You cannot force the company to create a new position for you, even under the ADA.
     
  9. Tax Counsel

    Tax Counsel Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    890
    Likes Received:
    453
    Trophy Points:
    63

    True, but there may be circumstances in which transferring the employee to another open position in the company would be a reasonable accommodation.
     
  10. cbg

    cbg Super Moderator

    Messages:
    8,205
    Likes Received:
    1,377
    Trophy Points:
    113

    Assuming that the position is open, would have to be filled by someone, and the disabled employee is qualified for it (and is able to do so), that is true. But it is also true that the ADA does not require an employer to create a new position within the employee's restrictions.

    I don't think we are in a position to say here whether a set shift would be reasonable or not if all other employees in that position are required to rotate; another thing the ADA does not require is that other employees be dis-accommodated.
     
  11. MG-RN

    MG-RN Law Topic Starter New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Typically, employees do work set shifts. I did for 8 years, as an RN and a PCT before that. Also, job searches outside the area show the company asking for set shifts for new hires. It’s pretty frustrating since the PM shift is where many clinics struggle finding help. No new position would need to be created, but I think you are right about the dis-accommodation. They want the new team members to work whatever hours not covered by the staff already there, who most likely have set shifts already to suit their needs. I get it, I had seniority once too. I’ve tried to do a lot of cold calling/emailing with poor results trying to see how I could fit in to some of these clinics with hours that wouldn’t crush me. I just wish HR would help also with all their internal contacts and a desire to not leave an experienced employee sitting on the sidelines
     

Share This Page