I had a medical problem that caused me to exhaust my light duty. Prior to having surgery it was known that I would be off work for at least four months and when I returned, I would never be able to return to the floor and needed a desk job with limited standing and walking. When I was released by my doctor, the human resources rep and I were looking for a new position. I used up my short-term disability and then went into LTD, which I remain on. I was terminated later, with the HR rep saying I had refused a job offer. There was never any job offers. I started to try to fight it, but had to focus on my own new job search. Is it worth me trying to fight it six months later?
Dear Nancy replies:
It certainly sounds that your experience after your surgery and during your recovery was quite an ordeal. Your experience also touches on many legal issues, including the facility’s policies on short- and long-term disability and, after your surgery, possibly the Americans with Disabilities Act.
It is impossible to clearly comment upon all that happened to you without specific information about all the stages of this experience, so it would be best for you to consult with a nurse attorney or other attorney in your state who can respond to all of the facts of the situation. It is hoped you have documentation about the decisions that were made so that the attorney you select can review them, including the actual policies of the facility and anything in writing about your termination.
One key issue for you to emphasize with the attorney is that there never was a job offered to you. It seems strange that the company would say this when it is not true.
Keep in mind that wrongful termination usually means an employee is fired due to his or her involvement in raising patient care issues or other concerns to outside agencies or to the press. The employee is then fired in “retaliation” for his or her conduct. If you have a case, it may not be a wrongful termination action, but your attorney can advise you as to how to proceed and if you can proceed given the time that has passed since the termination.