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Colorado - Return from Medical Leave and Offer Rescinded

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  • Colorado - Return from Medical Leave and Offer Rescinded

    I was an active employee on an approved medical leave beginning 4-20-09. Four days later, I was laid off. My last day was 5-8-09. I contacted HR and asked them to investigate "suspicous timing" and they came back and said they can justify the job elimination, but due to FMLA they will keep me as an active employee until 7-13, but will have one week (unil 7-20) to find and secure another job within the company if I want to continue to work for the company. I found another job in the company and the agreed started date was 8-3. I asked my doctor for an early medical release so I can keep a job within my company. On 7-31, HR emailed me and said the start date is pushed out, on 8-6 HR emailed and said the job is on hold. On 8-17, I received a call stating the job was eliminated due to organizational changes. I still have contacts at my company and just found out (8018), that my job was filled by someone else internally. HR said the job was no longer available and took the posted position off the career site. As an active employee, returning to work from an approved medical leave, can my company offer me a job, rescind "due to organization changes and job elimination" and then give it to someone? This smells like a rat to me. In the meantime, I've lost my short-term disability that I had for up to 6 months because I asked for an early release to return to work.
    Last edited by doublestandard01; 08-20-2009, 05:35 PM. Reason: Added a sentence.

  • #2
    You could have been terminated while on leave if your job would be eliminated anyway. By allowing you to not only stay on leave but look for another job once you were released by your doctor, your employer already went well beyond what was required.

    You would only qualify for STD if you are incapable of working. If your doctor released you, then you would not be eligible no matter what. If your doctor was falsely claiming you could not work when you actually could, that is fraud and not a very good idea.

    Your employer has already gone well beyond what is required. I don't see any recourse for you.
    I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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    • #3
      I don't think you fully understand my situation. I was an on an approved medical leave with this company. In order for me to not lose my benefits, 401(k), stocks options, etc., I had to find a job within 90 days or my official status will be terminated. My official last day was 7-13, but they gave me until 7-20 to find another job. Well, I did and had it secured and they offered it to me. I have all the paperwork. Because I was on medical leave, in order for me to return to work, I asked my doctor for an early release specifically to return to my company so I would NOT lose employment. I trusted I had a job to come back to on 8-3, and then conveniently my company rescinded the offer stating that the job has been eliminated due to organizational changes. Mind you, I'm still an active employee, not laid off yet; I complied by their rules and within their time period, so I got an early release to return to work because I was losing my original job. On 8-17, I was told that the new job was eliminated due to organization changes, but in fact, they gave the position to someone else. I would not have returned to work and just stayed on an approved medical leave that provided STD financial benefits, if I didn't have a job to come back to. I would have just accepted the severance package and been done with it. I gave up 2 1/2 months of STD to return to my company because I had to in order to keep my employment. They knew about my disability and what limitations the doctor wrote in order for me to return to work. Does anyone see a discrimination issue here? I suppose my situation has multiple issues. Can a company rescind an offer to an active employee and turn around and give it to someone else? Can a company lie about it and get away with it? I don't have a job now, but also I've lost my STD insurance. For anyone considering a medical leave, it's not easy to establish a claim without proper medical documentation and even then, it must be continuously re-established based on the STD insurance plan's policies. My doctor released me because I told him my employment depends on it.
      Last edited by doublestandard01; 08-20-2009, 08:00 PM. Reason: sentence structure

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      • #4
        Yes they can give the position to someone else. When did you actually return to work?

        You can always try reapplying for STD if your condition is such that you can not be accommodated but it is not a substitute for unemployment or severance. You aren't owed STD. Chances are very good that if the STD company knew you were actively seeking employment you would not have been eligible for benefits. I understand that you did so to keep a job but you also have to understand how STD works.
        I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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        • #5
          It was agreed that I would return to the office on 8-3, along with a medical release, to start this new job. On 7-31, I was told to not come in to the office because the start date was pushed out. However, based on the law, Iím still considered an active employee returning to work because I haven't been laid off. The following week, I received an email stating the position was on hold. I was looking internally because that's what my company told me to do if I wanted to remain employed. My original job was eliminated on 5-8, but due to FMLA, they kept me as an active employee until 8-17 (the day I was told the new job is not available). On paper, I returned to work, but I never came back to the office because was told not to until they had the new start date. Well, for 2 Ĺ weeks, I got nothing but the run-around. On 8-17, I was told the position was eliminated. The company filled the position between 8-3 and 8-17 with another active employee. Yeah, another issue I have is the fact I returned to work 8-3, but was never put back on the payroll, so I could use my PTO as a financial bridge until I started my new job. I believe I'm due 12 days of PTO, and they claim otherwise.

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          • #6
            There is no law that makes you an employee. You went out on 4/20 and your 12 weeks of FMLA expired July 12. After that, they had no obligation at all to reinstate you. Actually, since your job was eliminated back in May, they did not even owe you that much. Your employment could have legally been terminated in May. FMLA does not prevent them from terminating you.

            There is also no law that requires that they give you 2 extra weeks to look for another position. Again, it was far more generous an offer than was required. There is no law that would require your employer allow you to use PTO during that time. The use of PTO is not governed by law.

            It stinks that the positon was given to someone else but it is not illegal. You have been out for more than 17 weeks now, which is far more than required and in spite of the fact that you would have been unemployed as of May had you not been on leave.

            If you no longer qualify for STD, which would be the case if your octor released you to work, file for unemployment and start job hunting elsewhere.
            I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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            • #7
              Thank you for your honest reply. I needed to understand where I stood. I simply need to get over it and move on. It's that simple. Best Regards.

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