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Florida: 8 Mos Pregnant, Granted FMLA, Bought STD, Terminated Florida

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  • Florida: 8 Mos Pregnant, Granted FMLA, Bought STD, Terminated Florida

    Good morning. I am 8 months pregnant, was granted FMLA a few months ago by my employer, and have been covered by STD (as well as LTD) for many years. I'm an employee for nearly 8 years with this company, and there are/were approximately 500 employees in this company. My company recently merged with another back in July, and a couple of days ago, at least 50% of the company - including myself - were laid off with no notice. My HR department said they've no idea what the laws/rules/etc are in regard to my having been approved for FMLA and having purchased STD in this situation. The company is not closed down, and it looks like the company we merged with has a person filling the same role I've filled for the past 7+ years at this company. We were given no reason for termination, simply informed we were termed and advised we'd be told when we could come and pick up our personal items. Please advise, if anyone has any helpful information for me. Your time is sincerely appreciated.

  • #2
    Originally posted by MelissaLee View Post
    Good morning. I am 8 months pregnant, was granted FMLA a few months ago by my employer, and have been covered by STD (as well as LTD) for many years. I'm an employee for nearly 8 years with this company, and there are/were approximately 500 employees in this company. My company recently merged with another back in July, and a couple of days ago, at least 50% of the company - including myself - were laid off with no notice. My HR department said they've no idea what the laws/rules/etc are in regard to my having been approved for FMLA and having purchased STD in this situation. The company is not closed down, and it looks like the company we merged with has a person filling the same role I've filled for the past 7+ years at this company. We were given no reason for termination, simply informed we were termed and advised we'd be told when we could come and pick up our personal items. Please advise, if anyone has any helpful information for me. Your time is sincerely appreciated.
    What is your question? Are you asking about STD when you give birth? Are you asking about the legality of firing a pregnant employee?

    Comment


    • #3
      You cannot be selected for layoff BECAUSE you are pregnant or BECAUSE you have applied for FMLA. You CAN be selected for layoff IN SPITE OF being pregnant and IN SPITE OF having applied for FMLA. (Your having bought STD or LTD coverage from the company is immaterial.) You do not get special rights to your job because of your pregnancy/FMLA - if you would have been selected for layoff if you were not pregnant/if you had not applied for FMLA, then you still can be laid off.

      Whether your STD plan will still provide coverage is a question only someone who has read your STD plan document can answer.
      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 HRinMA View Post
        What is your question? Are you asking about STD when you give birth? Are you asking about the legality of firing a pregnant employee?
        My apologies. I'd like to know whether I lose the STD benefits I've paid for - which would have been 60% of my salary - now that I've been terminated 8 months into my pregnancy. I'd also like to know if it was legal to fire me. Should the approved FMLA and disability have provided me any sort of protection? Additionally, having been with the company for over 7 years, I was qualified for many positions, which was something discussed with my supervisor as she needed help managing several areas of work and projects that were falling behind.

        Any other detail which I should be aware of - I've never been pregnant before and I've never been terminated before - I'd really appreciate. Again, my thanks to all.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by cbg View Post
          You cannot be selected for layoff BECAUSE you are pregnant or BECAUSE you have applied for FMLA. You CAN be selected for layoff IN SPITE OF being pregnant and IN SPITE OF having applied for FMLA. (Your having bought STD or LTD coverage from the company is immaterial.) You do not get special rights to your job because of your pregnancy/FMLA - if you would have been selected for layoff if you were not pregnant/if you had not applied for FMLA, then you still can be laid off.

          Whether your STD plan will still provide coverage is a question only someone who has read your STD plan document can answer.
          Thank you for the information.

          Comment


          • #6
            Is the WARN Act applicable?

            You say your employer had approximately 500 employees and at least 50% of the company were laid off with no notice. You need to read the Fact Sheet regarding the WARN Act ("The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act") to see if it is applicable to your situation (the mass layoff). The WARN Act offers protection to workers, their families and communities by requiring employers to provide notice 60 days in advance of covered plant closings and covered mass layoffs. This notice must be provided to either affected workers or their representatives (e.g., a labor union); to the State dislocated worker unit; and to the appropriate unit of local government. A couple of sections of the WARN Act are quoted below.

            If the WARN act applies, those being laid off should have been given 60 days notice. If you had received 60 days notice, you may have still been employed when your child is born which in turn may trigger eligibility for benefits under the STD policy. (No one here has read the terms of the STD policy, so we cannot say with certainty you would have been covered.)

            If you believe the WARN Act applies, you may want to seek an opinion from a lawyer who has experience with/specializes in WARN Act violations.

            What Triggers Notice

            Plant Closing: A covered employer must give notice if an employment site (or one or more facilities or operating units within an employment site) will be shut down, and the shutdown will result in an employment loss (as defined later) for 50 or more employees during any 30-day period. This does not count employees who have worked less than 6 months in the last 12 months or employees who work an average of less than 20 hours a week for that employer. These latter groups, however, are entitled to notice (discussed later).

            Mass Layoff: A covered employer must give notice if there is to be a mass layoff which does not result from a plant closing, but which will result in an employment loss at the employment site during any 30-day period for 500 or more employees, or for 50-499 employees if they make up at least 33% of the employer's active workforce. Again, this does not count employees who have worked less than 6 months in the last 12 months or employees who work an average of less than 20 hours a week for that employer. These latter groups, however, are entitled to notice (discussed later).

            An employer also must give notice if the number of employment losses which occur during a 30-day period fails to meet the threshold requirements of a plant closing or mass layoff, but the number of employment losses for 2 or more groups of workers, each of which is less than the minimum number needed to trigger notice, reaches the threshold level, during any 90-day period, of either a plant closing or mass layoff. Job losses within any 90-day period will count together toward WARN threshold levels, unless the employer demonstrates that the employment losses during the 90-day period are the result of separate and distinct actions and causes.

            Sale of Businesses

            In a situation involving the sale of part or all of a business, the following requirements apply. (1) In each situation, there is always an employer responsible for giving notice. (2) If the sale by a covered employer results in a covered plant closing or mass layoff, the required parties (discussed later) must receive at least 60 days notice. (3) The seller is responsible for providing notice of any covered plant closing or mass layoff which occurs up to and including the date/time of the sale. (4) The buyer is responsible for providing notice of any covered plant closing or mass layoff which occurs after the date/time of the sale. (5) No notice is required if the sale does not result in a covered plant closing or mass layoff. (6) Employees of the seller (other than employees who have worked less than 6 months in the last 12 months or employees who work an average of less than 20 hours a week) on the date/time of the sale become, for purposes of WARN, employees of the buyer immediately following the sale. This provision preserves the notice rights of the employees of a business that has been sold.
            Last edited by Law Firm Business Manager; 08-22-2011, 07:36 AM. Reason: edited for clarity
            While I may work for lawyers, I am not an attorney. Comments I make are based on my working experiences and should not be interpreted as legal advice.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Law Firm Business Manager View Post
              You say your employer had approximately 500 employees and at least 50% of the company were laid off with no notice. You need to read the Fact Sheet regarding the WARN Act ("The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act") to see if it is applicable to your situation (the mass layoff). The WARN Act offers protection to workers, their families and communities by requiring employers to provide notice 60 days in advance of covered plant closings and covered mass layoffs. This notice must be provided to either affected workers or their representatives (e.g., a labor union); to the State dislocated worker unit; and to the appropriate unit of local government. A couple of sections of the WARN Act are quoted below.

              If the WARN act applies, those being laid off should have been given 60 days notice. If you had received 60 days notice, you may have still been employed when your child is born which in turn may trigger eligibility for benefits under the STD policy. (No one here has read the terms of the STD policy, so we cannot say with certainty you would have been covered.)

              If you believe the WARN Act applies, you may want to seek an opinion from a lawyer who has experience with/specializes in WARN Act violations.
              Yes, this is applicable, and I will read it a bit more closely today, and proceed accordingly. I've not yet received any paperwork from HR, only a phone call advising me I'd been termed (in reply to an email I'd sent to HR after I'd received a phone call from a previous co-worker advising that "tons" of people had been let go). Thanks so much for your kind reply.

              Comment


              • #8
                While I'm not suggesting that you disregard the WARN information above, just be aware that WARN has numerous exceptions where the employer is exempt from WARN. As an example, a former employer of mine (though WARN did not apply due to our size) once had to RIF about 50% of the overall staff in a week because we had a huge chunk of our funding pulled with no notice. Because we could not have reasonably foreseen the loss of our funding (which was done in reaction to a news event), then even if we had been subject to WARN, we would have been exempted from it in that case.

                So even if WARN applies, it's not impossible that an exemption applies as well.
                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


                • #9
                  Originally posted by MelissaLee View Post
                  My apologies. I'd like to know whether I lose the STD benefits I've paid for - which would have been 60% of my salary - now that I've been terminated 8 months into my pregnancy. I'd also like to know if it was legal to fire me. Should the approved FMLA and disability have provided me any sort of protection? Additionally, having been with the company for over 7 years, I was qualified for many positions, which was something discussed with my supervisor as she needed help managing several areas of work and projects that were falling behind.

                  Any other detail which I should be aware of - I've never been pregnant before and I've never been terminated before - I'd really appreciate. Again, my thanks to all.
                  Having applied for FMLA does not protect your job here. How fair would it be to retain you simply because you were pregnant and let go a coworker simply because he or she was not? The law does not give you any extra protection from lay offs.

                  Being with the company for 7 ytears and being qualified for other jobs is likewise immaterial. Nothing in any law compels your employer to reassign you to another job.

                  You need to find out whether this STD policy is even still in effect. If the new company has a different policy and the old one was cancelled, you are out of luck. You can check with the company that issued the policy and see if it is possible to convert it to an individual policy.
                  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

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