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Was I wrongfully Terminated?

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  • Was I wrongfully Terminated?

    I worked as a case manager for several years. We had over 30 case managers in our office that routinelly took time off from work due to an illness, stress, or due to child birth. I had never taken any leave and had accumulated more time than most people in the office. From the day I started working there my Supervisor would constantly micro manage me more than anyone else in the office, and that is the main reason why I never took any leave because I was afraid to get behind on my work and was always trying to stay current; although that was impossible due to the excessive caseloads. Due to our excessive caseloads, it was common for us to make mistakes pertaining to our paperwork. Since I was primarily the person who was always at work, I ended up having to pick up the slack for those individuals that were out: meaning their cases would be given to those that were at work.

    Now, I endured my Supervisor harrassing me; which was known by most people in the office. I filed a harrasment claim against him, and it was denied. After being audited five times in three months, when no one else was being audited at all, I became mentally exhausted, and did not feel well. I went to see my doctor and was diagnosis with acute stress disorder and depression, and was sheduled to see a therapist who confirmed my doctors's diagnosis and scheduled me to speak with a psychiatrist. My doctor had ordered me not to return to work and wrote me a note for my employer which indicated that I will be off from work for three weeks. I returned to work the next day and told my Supervisor that I was ill and was taking medical leave.

    After being off for a few days, I faxed HR another letter from my doctor, at their request, indicating my medical reason for being off. I returned to work and was pulled into the office by another employee who stated that I was in a world of trouble. Next, I was called into the Supervisors office and asked if I would be taking any additional leave, and I stated that I needed to. I was then told that I was being terminated due to errors that were made in my casework that they found while I was on leave. They told everyone in the office and banned me from returning to the office as if I was a criminal. All for making an error which was explained by a letter from my doctor that my disability was a cause of my impaired judgement and was believed to be job related. Was I legally terminated, or do I have a case for ADA?

  • #2
    With whom did you file the harassment claim and on what basis?

    Comment


    • #3
      The best I can offer you is a, "possibly".

      Not all instances of taking disability leave are protected by the ADA. IN order to have a wrongful termination claim under the ADA, you would need to show that your were not terminated for the errors (which would be legal, even if unfair) but BECAUSE you had or were perceived of having a disability (which would not be legal).

      It is also possible, but not proven based on the info in your post, that you might have a case for a FMLA violation.

      Basically, nothing in your post is a clear violation; nothing in your post rules out the possibility of a violation.
      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.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by mitousmom
        With whom did you file the harassment claim and on what basis?

        I filed it with our harassment coordinator. I did not know why he was harrasing me, therefore I simply reported the incidents and how he was not doing the same to other employees uder his supervision. The Harrasment Coordinator stated that it was not discriminatory, but he would forward it up the chain of command; which was denied on the aforementioned basis.

        Additional Information: Since we were of the same race and same gender, I was told that I did not have a case, and a copy was forwared to my supervisor, who is also a Harrasment Coordinator.

        Comment


        • #5
          Harassment is illegal when a person is targeted for it on the basis of their race, gender, nationality, etc. The behavior of a supervisor or co-worker who is simply an equal opportunity jerk is not illegal harassment.
          I am not able to respond to private messages. Thanks!

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by cbg
            The best I can offer you is a, "possibly".

            Not all instances of taking disability leave are protected by the ADA. IN order to have a wrongful termination claim under the ADA, you would need to show that your were not terminated for the errors (which would be legal, even if unfair) but BECAUSE you had or were perceived of having a disability (which would not be legal).

            It is also possible, but not proven based on the info in your post, that you might have a case for a FMLA violation.

            Basically, nothing in your post is a clear violation; nothing in your post rules out the possibility of a violation.

            Is acute stress disorder and depression a legal disability?

            Since I did make errors (two) in my paperwork that could have caused a client problems, but did not, they claimed that I made the errors on purpose and that I should have caught the errors. They further stated that they could not prove that I did it on purpose, and did not have to prove anything. I guess I learned the hard way about the "At Will" rule. It seems that they should have to prove an accusation like that instead of simply saying that "all we have to do is suspect that you did it on purpose" and fire someone. I feel helpless. I never been in trouble before on any of my previous jobs, and would always win employee of the month honors. Being fired is awful, it seems like no one wants to hire you. It is ten times as bad when you know it was wrong. Legally, should I try and fight it, or should I save my money and just move on? Like you said, since I did make two errors, that will justify what they did. But the kicker is that my Supervisor made the exact same errors (which I can prove), and nothing happened to him. If I could prove that he made the same errors along with most of the other caseworkers, would I have a case then?

            Thank you.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Why me?
              Additional Information: Since we were of the same race and same gender, I was told that I did not have a case, and a copy was forwared to my supervisor, who is also a Harrasment Coordinator.
              Why do you think your supervisor was harassing you? That you and he are the same sex and race is really not germane to the question of illegal discrimination. The question is whether he is treating you differently than employees not of your same sex or race.

              Is acute stress disorder and depression a legal disability?
              It depends upon whether your conditions substantially limit a major's life activities. That determination is made on a case-by-case basis. As cbg notes, your employer could have perceived you as being disabled, and ended your employment because it did not want to grant you additional leave or allow you to continue to work with its belief about your medical condition.

              Having a qualified disability under the ADA does not prevent your employer from terminating your employment because you made an error or couldn't perform your job because of your disability.

              You may want to discuss your situation with EEOC, the federal agency responsible for enforcing the ADA, and with the DOL's Wage & Hour Division regarding FMLA.

              Comment

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