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Disability Question in Pennsylvania

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  • Disability Question in Pennsylvania

    While on sick leave and receiving STD benefits, I received notification that I was being terminated the day before I was scheduled to return to work, per my doctors orders. How will this affect my ability to collect UC benefits, as I will be able and available?

    I understand the PA is an employment at will state, but as someone who was disabled at the time of termination, do I have grounds for further legal action?

    Thank you!

  • #2
    I understand the PA is an employment at will state, but as someone who was disabled at the time of termination, do I have grounds for further legal action?
    File your claim for UI benefits..the state makes that determination.

    You were not ''disabled'' you were ''sick''. Do you have a qualifying 'disability' under ADA/EEOC ?
    Discrimination by Type

    Learn about the various types of discrimination prohibited by the laws enforced by EEOC. We also provide links to the relevant laws, regulations and policy guidance, and also fact sheets, Q&As, best practices, and other information
    More information is here http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/types/index.cfm
    Were you eligible or covered under FMLA ? That would provide job and benefit protection for up to 12 weeks/annum.

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    • #3
      I was placed on sick leave because from October 08 - January 09 because I was out for surgery under FMLA. Thus I was told I did not qualify for FMLA again and they placed me on sick leave. I am, however, paid out of STD benefits and required to submit a medical form in a regular basis. I believe my disability falls under the EEOC.

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      • #4
        What is your disability? Is it short term or permanent?

        Not all or even most conditions for which STD would be paid, fall under the ADA. STD does not provide ANY job protection. If your FMLA has expired, then you are not entitled to any more medical leave, unless your condition is covered under the ADA AND a SHORT extension of your leave would allow you to return to work and perform all the essential functions of your position.

        Also, neither FMLA nor the ADA protects you from a layoff or termination that would have happened regardless of your medical condition.
        Last edited by cbg; 01-26-2010, 05:52 AM.
        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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        • #5
          I believe my disability falls under the EEOC.
          Which is ?

          Congress expanded the definition of ''disability''...http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-...406enr.txt.pdf... page 3. Sec. 3 DEFINITION OF DISABILITY. This is under ADA however, and not EEOC.
          do I have grounds for further legal action?
          These are not huge money cases. What you are basically eligible for is reinstatement, past lost wages, and benefits/PTO/sick leave, vacation accrual replaced. From what I've read, punitive damages aren't significant if any.

          I think if you were to consult with an attorney... you'll find these are very expensive cases..filing fees, depositions, expert witness testimony etc., and you carry the burden of proof. Probably not a claim to be taken on a contingency. So your litigation costs would outweigh any significant recovery. And, IF you were to prevail, and be reinstated... the ER would likely find another ''at will'' business decision to seperate you from their employ. Besides a potentially 'hostile' work environment.

          MHO...file for your UI benefits... and begin a earnest job search. Those are likely your best options financially, and emotionally. Legal action would/could be a long drawn out ordeal, and w/o a job, no other income source.

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          • #6
            I still want to know what the "disability" is. Even under the expanded definitions, it's still by NO means certain that just because there were STD benefits, it means the ADA applies. OR that additional leave would automatically be a reasonable accomodation.
            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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            • #7
              Thanks for the advice. The disability was short term. All my papers say that I am receiving benefits under my employers short term disabilities. My checks say I am being paid under short term disability as well. I'm gonna send you a private message about the nature of the disability.
              Last edited by taylor5; 01-26-2010, 06:41 AM.

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              • #8
                I rec'd your PM... you cannot receive one back. So, I'll answer here....

                You should be filing a claim under your ER's plan for industrial injury... workers compensation.
                You can find the PA WC Act here, http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal...=553004&mode=2.

                If you have not addressed this type of claim with your treating physician, and filed the First Report Of Injury with your employER and/or their IC/carrier, you should probably consult with an attorney primarily handling Workers Compensation. There may be additional benefits due... longer term TTD/wage loss besides those of STD. And, possibly indemnity benefits, or vocational rehab. You haven't provided enough info here to tell what the specifics are in your claim. Nor should you if you don't want to.

                When the STD carrier is aware this is a industrial injury/illness... you could see some resistance in providing those short term disability benefits.

                I am not sure how your injury will be interpreted under ADA rules. Nor would your injury be a permenant disability. It is entirely possible to fully recover.

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