12-14-2005, 10:43 AM
[[FONT=Arial]I was on 30 day leave of absence for almost 30 days when I found out that I had to have major surgery. I left the HR dept. of my former employer several messages that I would have to be off work an additional 4 to 6 weeks due to the surgery. Afterwards, I was terminated for job abandonment. They stated that I did not contact them. My phone records document the telephone calls that were made. I had to take the 30 day leave of absence bcause I didn't qualify for FMLA.
My employer did not send any letters advising in advance that they hadn't heard from me or a letter acknowledging the leave of absence (except for the termination letter). I know that GA is a employ/work at will stated so they can terminate you for any reason. However, can the DOL deny my unemployment benefits because of this? I didn't abandon my job. If anything, I think the company abandon me because I was sick and unable to work.
12-14-2005, 11:58 AM
It all depends on who the UC Division believes - that you called and left messages or that your employer never received them.
By the way, the moral of this story is to always SPEAK to your employer when you're going to be absent or in need of a leave. Just yesterday I had a message on my voice mail from some woman saying that her son was in the hospital and wouldn't be into work for the rest of the week. The problem was that we never heard of him. Fortunately, she left her phone number so I could call her back and tell her she had dialed a wrong number. Had she not done so, it's quite possible that her son's employer would have fired him for job abandonment.
12-14-2005, 12:17 PM
Thanks. I tried very hard to speak to someone. I kept getting voicemail. Receiving treatment and being in and out of the hospital made it very difficult to call every hour on the hour everyday (although I did some days). However, I did call everyday the week prior to the end of my 30 day leave. I think the messages were received. The problem was that I was off for 30 days and had to be off an additional 30 to 45 days.
When leave is granted, is it required that the employer acknowledge that leave in writing?
12-14-2005, 12:30 PM
When leave is granted, is it required that the employer acknowledge that leave in writing? No, and especially so when the FMLA doesn't apply. Your employer wasn't obligated to extend any leave time to you at all.
12-14-2005, 12:45 PM
Thanks Beth. I understand. I will await the UC determination. At least I have the documentation of the attempts and they have none. Hopefully this will work in my favor.
12-14-2005, 12:55 PM
A photocopy of your phone bill will be good evidence to introduce at the hearing.
12-14-2005, 12:59 PM
BTW - bring the original bill with you but enter the photocopy in as evidence (you won't get that back.) You want to have the original with you in case your employer challenges the validity of the photocopy.
12-14-2005, 01:25 PM
Thanks Beth. I have a doctor's statement for the time period I was off work. Do I need the medical records from the treating physicians for the hearing for additional proof that I was off ill?
12-14-2005, 01:36 PM
You can bring it to the hearing in case you need it but I don't think it will be particularly relevant. The issue being heard is not whether you were ill - your employer isn't challenging that. The only issue being heard is whether you contacted your employer to report that you were in need of leave time.
12-26-2005, 09:38 PM
Thanks Beth! Although my former employer originally contested my unemployment claim, the claim was approved. The DOL agreed that I did not abandon my job.
NOW, I am still awaiting COBRA information. My former employer should have sent the information no later than December 1, 2005. The DOL has called them several times as well as sent them a letter. I guess the next step is file a law suit in federal court. The company knew I needed COBRA in October. My family and I called them several times from the middle of October to the middle of November to no avail. If the wait too long, I may not be able to pay the first payment because it will be $$ x 4... May that is their hope.
Again, thanks Beth.
01-27-2006, 11:20 AM
All has worked out well. My unemployment benefits were approved. It was determined that my employment was terminated while I was ill. The illness was beyond my control.
Also, after serveral tries, the Labor Department was able to have the COBRA documents sent to me. They had to contact the company president since the HR Dept. did not reply.
Thanks for your help.
Glad to hear it worked out for you.