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Job termination while I'm on worker compensation, what to do?

Discussion in 'Workers Compensation' started by hatsune, Sep 9, 2020.

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  1. hatsune

    hatsune Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Hello Everyone,

    I had a slip and fall injury at work 3 years ago, and injured my both knees. I just had a knee surgery last Nov, 2020. During the recovery, pandemic hit in March and we got lock down. I could not get a proper medical treatment (doctor visit, PT..) due the doctor's offices were closed at that time. I'm still haven't return to work. About two weeks ago, my company has announced that they will laying off about 10% of their employees across the nation.

    My question is - Can company legally lay off employee when he/she still under worker compensation at this touch pandemic time? One of my co-worker from our sister company has just got laid off when she was attempting to return to work after her maternity leave two weeks ago, the reason that they gave her was because of her company do not have any hours. I am freaking out... if I return to work, I will be the one get laid off. Any experienced legal person or who has knowledge about this, please advice.

    Thank you in advance.

    x
    Hatsune
     
  2. cbg

    cbg Super Moderator

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    Yes, an employee who is on workers comp (or maternity leave) can legally be laid off. The burden of proof is on the employer to show that had the employee not been on workers comp (or maternity leave) they would still have been laid off, but if the employer can meet that burden, the employee does not get a free pass because they happened to have an open claim, or be on leave, at the time of the layoff.
     
  3. hatsune

    hatsune Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Thank you very much for your reply. That's very helpful.
     
  4. hatsune

    hatsune Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Hi everyone,

    I am a full time employee and worked for major international cosmetic brand for over the past 10 years. I have an on going worker compensation case since 2017, I have been on-going medical treatment ever since then. I recently went for surgery in Nov 2019. I notified my employer as well as the short-term disability team before I went for the surgery, I followed every step carefully to ensure everything was done correctly. I specifically mentioned that this is a worker compensation case and the disability team told me that they has received my request. I was also told by them that if there's any chance worker compensation denial my claim, to come back to them to discuss being covered under their insurance policy. After the surgery and during the recovery, I was unable to continue my post-surgery medical treatment like physical therapy and doctor visit due to the pandemic. Fast forward to 3 weeks ago, I informed my superior that I'm preparing to return back to work, and I'm working on getting a clearance from my doctor. Yesterday, I have received the only phone call from my HR stating that my leave of absence was not approved since March 2020 due to worker compensation denying my claim, she said because I have not received a clearance from my doctor she is calling to inform me that the company want to separate with me because of this reason.

    I never received any denial notice from my worker compensation insurance nor was I informed by disability team in March 2020 that my leave of absence was not approved. If they would have informed me in March as they were directed to do so, I would have taken proper actions to keep my job. I feel that I have been punished by HR and the disability team at my company for their error of failing to inform me that I was on an unapproved absence from work. They even stated on the phone that possibly the letter was "lost in the mail" and when I asked "how is it was my fault that their mail was lost?" they gave no satisfactory explanation. Also, why are they just informing me at this point now in October 2020 that my leave wasn't approved since March 2020? Keeping in mind the situation of the pandemic and the lock-down in NYC around that time I tried to reason with HR and come to a reasonable solution however, they did not extend the courtesy back to me and I feel they just wanted to get rid of me and saw this as another opportunity to thin out one of their staff as they have in many other locations globally. Any assistance or insight into this situation would be greatly appreciated from any expert here in the forum.

    Thank you.
     
  5. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    It is time to move on.

    Don't waste too many cycles pursuing something that you'll never catch.

    I pray you are healing, and soon that you will be healed.

    Time to seek greener pastures, no more looking back as you march forward to that next great opportunity.
     
    hatsune likes this.
  6. hatsune

    hatsune Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Hi Army Judge & Everyone,

    Thank you for taking your time to reply. I appreciate your advice.
    I feel unfair that I did not do anything wrong but lost my job. Do I need to seek for legal advise?
     
  7. cbg

    cbg Super Moderator

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    You can seek legal advice if it will make you feel better. But the fact remains that under the law, you are entitled to up to 12 weeks of protected medical leave per 12 month period, and once that 12 weeks has expired it is perfectly legal for an employer to let you go,regardless of whether you think it is fair, regardless of whether you did anything wrong, regardless of how legitimate the need for additional medical leave and regardless of whether it is work-related or not.
     
    justblue and army judge like this.
  8. hatsune

    hatsune Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I undertsand now. Thank you for taking time to reply.
     

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