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Was this Wrongfull Termination? Ohio

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  • Was this Wrongfull Termination? Ohio

    Here is my story... (a summary I had to send to unemployment)

    The medical issues started on 05/17/2012. I was unable to stand or walk for unknown reasons at that time. The store manager was made aware of the situation. I have doctor’s excuses for all days I was absent. I took FMLA to protect my job, while staying in constant communication with the store manager. I went to all my appointments, had all kinds of tests ran and it was eventually found that I had a herniated disk in my lower lumbar and pinched nerves. I visited a Chiropractor on 7/18/2012 and then again on 07/23/2012 he adjusted my back, that relieved a lot of the symptoms and when I returned to my Neurologist on 08/25/2012 he released me to go back to work on 08/06/2012. When I returned to work on 08/06/2012 I had a discussion with the store manager and because of my herniated disc, I would require some accommodation so I would not have to do any heavy lifting or excessive bending. He was fine with that, and informed the other employees that they were to do any heavy lifting for me. I worked from 08/06/2012 until 09/03/2012. I always worked my scheduled hours, never called in, and never was late. At one point during that month I had another discussion with the manager about moving me to the bookkeepers position. He said he would have to ask the district manager but allowed me to do bookkeeping and clerical. The district manager when asked said no, that I could not. On 08/28/2012 the district manager asked for a doctors note stating my limitations. I got a note from my Chiropractor on 08/29/2012 stating that I should not lift anything greater that 5lbs and that I should not do any repetitive bending. I faxed that to the district manager on 08/29/2012. On 09/05/2012 the district manager called me and informed me, he was putting me back on FMLA because I could no longer do heavy lifting. I kept in constant contact with the store manager during any time off. I sent an email on 09/19/2012 to the manager and district manager that I was getting a release of some sort on 09/24/2012. I called the store manager after my doctor’s appointment on 09/24/2012 and let him know my doctor wanted me to have one more test before he released me and that the test was going to be done on 09/26/2012. He said that was fine. I asked if my job was in jeopardy during the phone conversation, and he said no, and that he was eager to put me back on the schedule. I called him after my test/appointment on 09/26/2012 to communicate how the test/appointment went and before I was able to communicate this information to him he interrupted me and told me he had bad news, That the District Manager had called him on 09/25/2012 and told him to discharge me from employment because my FMLA had expired that therefore he was to let me go, so I was discharged from employment on 09/25/2012 for the reason stated above (FLMA expired). In summary I feel I was discharged because of my medical limitations even though accommodations were in place by the store manager and I was performing all other job duties including clerical and bookkeeping.

  • #2
    Das ist in der Doktor!

    I feel I was discharged because of my medical limitations even though accommodations were in place by the store manager and I was performing all other job duties including clerical and bookkeeping

    Here is what the law says about wrongful termination
    though, not your question, at will employment.

    As you tell it, I do not see where wrongful termination as defined by law would come in to play.
    However, as to your medical limitations, I would urge you to speak to an Attorney as soon as possible to find out what options you may have.
    I have a feeling you're going to need to see one sooner or later so it might as well be sooner.
    It was nice of the store manager to make such accommodations as he did, but apparently he may have over stepped his bounds with the District Manager and You happen to be a causality of some kind of a power struggle between those two.
    Good Luck..
    ~ Free advice is like a public defender,
    you get what you pay for. ~ drr


    • #3
      The only possibility I see is an ADA claim if a short extension of your FMLA would allow you to return to employment under restrictions that your employer could reasonably accommodate. Giving you the bookkeeping job is not a reasonable accommodation as the law sees it. It sounds like limiting you to not lifting more than 5 lbs and expecting your coworkers to do all the lifting isn't reasonable, which is no at all surprising. The law does not require them to give you your preferred job, nor impose on others. Asking others to lift the few things that you can not is one thing but asking others to do virtually all the lifting and bending, is not.

      Did you actually ask for an extended leave or did you just assume you were still covered under FMLA? Have you ever communicated directly with the District Manager? If not, it sounds like you should have as that is who makes the decisions.
      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.


      • #4
        Thank you for your responses.

        Lifting was only a very small part of my job. It was a retail situation, so most of the lifting was done by others anyways. I probably should have communicated more with the district manager, but I was trying to follow the chain of command.

        I will find a lawer today and ask some questions. I had been with the company for over 8 yrs. It is just dishearttening.

        Thank you


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