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Wrongful Termination and FMLA and Harrassment Pennsylvania

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  • Wrongful Termination and FMLA and Harrassment Pennsylvania

    I am trying to determine if I have a good case and should proceed with finding a good attorney. I January I went on a LOA from work for Medical Reasons. I completed all the FMLA paperwork at this time. When I returned to work in March my employer tried to demote me to a lesser position. When I stated to them this was an illegal act and I was contacting the Federal Govt they retaliated by harrassing me. When I say harrassment, I mean screamed and such. I contacted HR and a member of Sr Man. At the time of my conversation with Sr. Man, I was told that they were out to get me for contacting the federal govt. That I threatened them. If I did not resign from the company they would continue to write me up until I was discharged and did not have a name left in the corporate world. Part of the agreement was if I resigned I could collect unemployment. At this time I contacted an attorney who suggested I should resign and take the unemployment. I still was not ready to give up. Then I finally got written up for untrue information. I refused to sign the paperwork and was told I did not have to but it was still going to go in my file. At this time I felt I was forced to resign. I filed unemployment and it was approved. Until last week (5 months later)when I received a letter from the unemployment office that work decided to notify them that I quit and now there is an investigation. If found I quit I will have to pay back the unemployment benefits. Upon resigning I was also shorted 500 dollars that I was promised I would receive. I contacted the Labor Relations and found out I could not get this because the law states pay for time worked and I did not work, this was my notice I was to be paid. I could take them to small claims court, but it wasn't worth it for me. Now I am dealing with this. Is there anything I can do? I am having a really hard time getting a job now and I believe that my past employer is talking badly on me. I have someone calling to check on this. So if he is saying untrue statements can I do anything about this too?
    Last edited by spiritchild1963; 09-07-2006, 07:52 PM.

  • #2
    You said yourself that you resigned, another word for resigning is quitting,so the employer is correct. Sorry to tell you this.

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    • #3
      HOw can an employer force you to resign and then change their story once you are out the door.

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      • #4
        Well here is the deal. What they did was wrong. What you should have done, is stick with the job, not refuse to work, and then the first check you got that showed less wages, you could file a claim with the Labor Board for not following the laws of F.M.L.A leave. You took it apon yourself (though I do NOT blame you), to just say no, and give them reason to term you, for not doing as your superior asked you to. It was not against the law for them to change your duties, or title (I don't think), but it would have definately been against the law for them to give you less wages than before. What title and responsibilities did you hold, and what was the new title and responsibilities?

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        • #5
          I was the Registrar which was a management position. When I returned they tried to get me to do Student Services which was a Secreterial type position. I understand I should have stuck with the job, but they were making my life unbearable. I just came off of an LOA for Depression and Anxiety to be faced with this when I walked in. I feel like they took advantage of my disability making it impossible for me to deal with the stress when I returned. I was told by a member of Sr Mng. that they were going to tell the govt that this was a non-mng position. So I forwarded myself emails from our director showing that I was in attendance of mng meetings. I also feel like I was retaliated against for contacting the Federal Govt about them trying to demote me upon my return. Let me also add this information: I worked for this co for 9 years. Was a top notch employee until I took my LOA and returned. All reviews were excellent. We had a change in directors last year and he is the one I have been told is responsible for these decisions.
          Last edited by spiritchild1963; 09-08-2006, 03:30 AM.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by turbowray
            Well here is the deal. What they did was wrong. What you should have done, is stick with the job, not refuse to work, and then the first check you got that showed less wages, you could file a claim with the Labor Board for not following the laws of F.M.L.A leave. You took it apon yourself (though I do NOT blame you), to just say no, and give them reason to term you, for not doing as your superior asked you to. It was not against the law for them to change your duties, or title (I don't think), but it would have definately been against the law for them to give you less wages than before. What title and responsibilities did you hold, and what was the new title and responsibilities?
            Actually, that isn't quite true. FMLA requires the employer return the employe to the same or equivalent position. However, if the change in position or pay would have gone into effect regardless of leave, then it was perfectly legal. As the new director is the one who is making the changes, it is not at all clear that this was done in retaliation. New Directors make changes and sometimes they affect those who happen to be on leave. Spiritchild, why do you think this is because you took leave? It could be, but you haven't shared a reason for it.

            Being screamed at also isn't necessarily harassment under the law. It isn't clear if this was an ongoing thing or what other actions comprised this harassment. Someone raising their voice when threatened with being reported to the federal government for committing an illegal act does not constitute harassment. I won't second guess your lawyer's advice on the write ups and what this senior manager told you. That is very fact specific and that person has way more facts than I do.

            Your employer does not decide who gets UC, the state does. If you resigned, then chances are good that you don't qualify for benefits. Your employer is required to provide an explanation of how you came to be unemployed. If you resigned because they wouldn't remove something from your file, I'd say your chances of getting UC are between slim and none. It simply isn't something most employees would feel compelled to resign as a result of.
            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
              I was specifically told by this member of Sr. Man that the reason why I was demoted was because they felt the girl who filled in for me during my absense deserve rewards for doing so. That I had taken a LOA and not told my employer the reason I went on an LOA. That I had company while I was on my LOA and that I threatened them with the federal govt for demoting me. This inturn threatened them and they were going to continue to write me up and force me out of the company because of these above reasons. That if I did not resign from the company that I was going to make a bad name for myself in the business and then I would never be able to get another job in this field.

              When I was handed my new job description when I returned to work (which I do have a copy of) I let them know that it was illegal to demote a person who is protected under FMLA. They told me this was not a demotion that they were just giving me a new job. The position they were giving me was a non-management position which I would say is close to a secretary. When I questioned this I was told they would tell the federal govt that I was not in a management position. So I immediately forwarded emails to my personal email account, showing I was in management before my leave.

              Now I am dealing with them telling the unemployment office that I quit my job and this is being investigated.
              This has been a nightmare for me. I honestly thought that I would retire from this company one day.
              The new supervisor as I stated started at the beginning of 2005. So he wasn't just brand new.
              Also let me state that all of my reviews prior to coming back from my LOA where excellent. I never was treated this way before my leave...this behavior only started when I returned and notified them that I was contacting the Feds.
              Last edited by spiritchild1963; 09-08-2006, 09:59 AM.

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              • #8
                If you feel that you were retaliated against for taking leave under FMLA, your recourse is to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor. I agree with Elle that, if you resigned because you were not happy with information that was put in your personnel file, you may have difficulty in prevailing with unemployment.
                I am not able to respond to private messages. Thanks!

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                • #9
                  Oh no...it has nothing to do with the information that was placed in my personnel file. I know that information stays with the company. It was that I was told that I was going to be written up continuously until I was dismissed from the company if I did not resigned. When I was written up it proved to me that the information I was given just two days earlier from a sr mng personnel was correct. They were out to get me for calling the Feds and I would not take the demotion like a "good employee" would. They were also upset the I took a LOA and did not tell them why I was taking one and I had company while I was on my LOA.
                  Last edited by spiritchild1963; 09-08-2006, 11:37 AM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    How could you take an LOA and not tell them why? If that is indeed what happened, it may not count as FMLA.
                    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.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Whoa, you went on an LOA and refused to tell them why? That's not how it works, hon. They are entitled to have medical verification that your medical condition qualifies for FMLA and if you don't provide it, they can LEGALLY deny FMLA.

                      Which would mean your leave was not protected, you would not have any kind of legal recourse and this entire thread is moot.
                      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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                      • #12
                        I filled out the FMLA paperwork. I went through HR for taking my LOA. I talked to my direct supervisor after I got back from the doctors. I went straight to work and let him know I was taking a LOA for Medical Reasons. You do not have to explain to anyone you work with why you are taking an LOA. Just HR needs to know. All they had to know was for Medical reasons. HR knows the rest.

                        Sorry that came out wrong. I did complete all the paperwork and did have documentation from my doctor submitted to work. They were upset that I did not go into my supervisors office and tell him that I suffered from depression and anxiety. They felt it was too easy for me to take the LOA. Or another way of saying it would be they thought I was faking it. But I took it for medical reasons.........I have suffered from this for most of my adult life and do have it documented in my medical records. It in no way stopped me from performing my job. I was excellent at my performance. At the time I was going through a seperation and other personal issues. They did not need to know all the information about my personal life.
                        Last edited by spiritchild1963; 09-08-2006, 12:20 PM.

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                        • #13
                          Good luck with all of this spirit child!

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                          • #14
                            I have talked to a few attorneys and they all say they will take the case........if I pay for it out of my pocket. I can't afford an attorney or I wouldn't be trying to find someone to sue muy past employer. I would have moved on with my life and thanked God I didn't work for a place like that anymore. I would never want my job back, not after this. But I am having a very difficult time finding another job. I am beginning to wonder if they are bad mouthing me to future employers. But then that is a whole nother issue.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by spiritchild1963
                              I have talked to a few attorneys and they all say they will take the case........if I pay for it out of my pocket. I can't afford an attorney or I wouldn't be trying to find someone to sue muy past employer. I would have moved on with my life and thanked God I didn't work for a place like that anymore. I would never want my job back, not after this. But I am having a very difficult time finding another job. I am beginning to wonder if they are bad mouthing me to future employers. But then that is a whole nother issue.
                              Maybe you could type up what the issue is, with a cover letter that states you can not afford anything or very little and see if someone would help you for free or at a reduced cost. Good luck hon!

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