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FMLA & STD exhausted - Voluntary Resignation

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  • FMLA & STD exhausted - Voluntary Resignation

    Hello,

    I will try and keep this brief. I took FMLA & STD leave in mid July. My benefits ended on 9/24 and I was not able to return to work. I began treatment for a different medical issue during my leave. I had my physical therapist and doctor submit notes for a new STD claim which the insurance company denied. My employer notified me yesterday that if I didn't return to work on 10/24 that they would consider me to be voluntarily resigning. I explained that I was working on an appeal and that I only received the letter describing the appeal process on the same day as their letter telling me to return to work. I said I was seeing an ortho. doctor and scheduling an MRI. I also stated very clearly in my letter back to them that after 9 years of service, I am not voluntarily resigning. I know their decision is final and that they won't "terminate" my employment. I also know that in Illinois, you can terminate anyone at any time. The last time my employer decided to reply to one of my emails was on 10/7. I ran out of time and couldn't appeal based on their decree.

    I have been in the same role for 9 years and at my last review, I received a good review and a raise.

    I know i can't file for unemployent if I am sick/unable to work, but once I am better, do i have any chance in winning? How long do i have to file for UI benefits?

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

  • #2
    You said you were out since mid July. It's possible your FMLA job protected leave expires on 10-24 & your job is no longer protected. It's possible you might qualify for some additional time off under the ADA if you have a qualifying condition.

    Once you are no longer disabled, go ahead & file for unemployment ins. if you do not still have a job with your current employer. (When you are ready, willing & able to work/looking for work) The state of Il. will make the decision whether you receive it or not. It never hurts to apply. Do not quit your job - let them terminate you even if they call it a voluntary quit.

    (Some states will consider being terminated or even quitting due to a medical condition as a not at fault termination/quit & issue UI when the employee is again able to work & if they qualify otherwise.)
    Last edited by Betty3; 10-23-2012, 03:00 PM.
    Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

    Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

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    • #3
      Once you are medically cleared to return to work, you have a good chance of receiving UI benefits. I would contact the UI office now, and see when they recommend filing your claim. Depending on how long you will be unable to work, you may want to lock in your higher paying quarters or you might want to hold off until you're ready to return to work.

      FYI, not your question but STD benefits do not provide job protection. Only FMLA provides job protection. Once your FMLA expired, your employer was legally entitled to term your employment regardless of the status of your STD claim. There is a school of thought that considers not returning after a FMLA leave (even if medically unable to) to be a voluntary resignation, and there is a certain amount of logic to that school. I personally do not subscribe to that theory but I do understand why others do. However, it is not the sort of "voluntary termination" that is likely to have an adverse affect on unemployment, unless the circumstances are such that you could have returned to work and chose not to. Which does not appear to be the case.
      The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

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      • #4
        Even if you win the appeal on the STD benefits, your employer doesn't have to keep you on as an employee if you have no FMLA job protected leave left & you don't qualify for an extended leave under the ADA as a reasonable accommodation.
        Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

        Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

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