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Terminated due to injury Colorado

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  • Terminated due to injury Colorado

    My g/f works for a small construction company as the office manager. She broke her foot and took a short time off work to comply with doctors orders, 2 days, the day of the surgery and the day after she started worked from home. She was told to return to work before being cleared for any sort of being in the office. Her employer not only failed to make any reasonable adjustments to her work space so she could ice and elevate, but made unreasonable requests of her. For example, asked her to do the shopping for a early morning meeting, run to the post office and clean the conference area. She was on crutches and did her best to ice and elevate. Her doctor made it clear to us, and we to her employer that she was a higher risk of blood clots than the normal person and was to "take it easy". She was salaried before this happened, but her employer refused to pay her for the time she was not in the office, effectively moving her to an hourly rate.

    The pain her leg got worse as her foot healed and she went to the doctor to have it checked for blood clots. She was diagnosed with deep vein thrombosis, and now has 3 blood clots in her veins. She missed a week and a half of work due to the high risk of the clots breaking free during the initial stages of the treatment and from an auto accident the same day. She tried several times to get a hold of her boss to let him know what was going on, but he refused to return her calls or emails.

    Upon returning to work, she was informed that she was being let go due to her injuries (it was stated as such) and had 30 days to train her replacement.

    I don't think she's covered under FMLA as the place only has one regular employee, her. The rest are contractors or subcontractors. She meets the other rules of time worked there and far exceeds the number of hours required. So I need to know what her rights are, what liability the employer has in regards to forcing her to violate her doctors orders and possibly causing the DVT. We really don't want to litigate against them, but will if it comes to that. We hope to negotiate a reasonable severance package instead of a lawsuit.

    Thanks in Advance!

  • #2
    First was this a work related injury or not?
    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
      No, this did not happen on the job and was in no way related to her work.

      Comment


      • #4
        Salaried is just a pay method. If she is nonexempt, she can be paid on an hourly basis with no problem. It sounds like that is what she is.

        Unfortunately, ADA does not cover short term ailments like broken limbs and even DVT. If FMLA doesn't apply, then she isn't guaranteed any particular length of leave and it is up to her employer. They also do not have to accommodate her need to sit or elevate her foot. It would be nice of them to do so, but there isn't any law which makes compassion and common sense mandatory.

        She can request severance but the employer is under no obligation to pay it and considering their stellar employee relations to this point, wouldn't count on it. She can and should apply for unemployment.
        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


        • #5
          Could the blood clots be considered WC? Or because it is from a non-work related injury it makes no difference?

          I always thought if the original injury worsens or a new problem arises due to work, then the new problem falls under WC. (example: employee breaks foot, goes back to work before foot is healed and breaks in the same spot--now it's wc?) Maybe I'm mistaken?

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          • #6
            It's a fine line. In the case where there is a specific injury that causes an objective injury to occur, the fact that it had happened in the past or that the employee may have been more susceptible to it wouldn't change the fact that it is WC.

            The fact that an employee developed a normally occurring complication they were at increased risk for while they were working, would not. Immobility is actually one cause of DVT and walking and moving is recommended as a preventative measure.
            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


            • #7
              Thanks for the clarification Elle.

              Comment

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