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Old 06-25-2012, 10:41 AM
2 posts, read 3,123 times
Reputation: 16


I am in a sticky situation and i need advice. I have obviously never been in this kind of a mess before. I am currently employed in youngsville NC. However i have been out of work since september 27 on 2011. I went out to have back surgery on october 4 of 2011.

The typical recovery term for this surgery is 1 year. This was known by my employer prior to the surgery. I cant prove this i dont think however. Anyway, my short term disability ended on April the 1st of 2012. Somewhere around in that area. I thought after that ended my long term would just kick in but i was sadly mistaken. My claim was denied. I had to file an appeal and write a letter of appeals. I also had to enclose all my medical records. Again i was denied. This time due to pre existing condition. So as far as my job disability im screwed. I talked with my employer and you have to keep in mind they are very sneaky and underhanded. My human resources manager told me i have to start paying my own health insurance until my 1 year date of not working. After that date comes, i will be terminated. He advised me to file for unemployment. Said the worst they could tell me is no.

A few days ago i went to my surgeon for my last appointment. We discussed my job and he wrote on a note, "Able to return to full duty on job". But he also has "unable to lift more than 25 pounds". My job is demanding and there is no light duty restrictions. In other words you have to be 100% or you cant work there. My human rersources manager says, my doctor has to take the lifting restriction off. He won't do it. Reson being, i have rods in my back. Two 18'' titanium rods go verticle down my spine.

So here's where i am. I have had no income since April 1 of this year. I cant get SS Disability because i can work, just not my occupation. I want to go to college and get a degree. Before i went out for surgery my company was laying off. They were laying off permanent and paying these people severence. 1 year salary to part company. I asked for that the other day and they won't help me because they say they are hiring now, not cutting back. Some of the people they gave severence to were terrible employees. Missed a lot of time, made a lot of mistakes, only been there 1 year or more, etc. I have been with them since 1999, and i have busted my tail for that company. This is how i get treated. I understand they have rules and stuff, but it blows my mind.

If i wait until September, my 1 year date of not working, and the fire me, can i draw unemployment? Can i file now? What do i do? My fiance is in school now for nursing and she has a year to go. Our plan was for her to finish, then me go immediately after. That way she can work and support while i go to school. I had been working to support while she goes to school. I had presented going to school through my employer many times but they blew me off. Very bad management, and just a very underhanded facility. Always has been. What do i do
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Old 06-25-2012, 10:51 AM
126 posts, read 250,303 times
Reputation: 65
I'm sorry you're having a hard time. I don't know anything about NC employment law, but I would suggest you contact a lawyer to see what your rights and obligations are in this matter.

If I were you, I would also be applying for jobs that don't involve lifting weights beyond your doctor's limit. It sounds like you'll never be able to go back to your old job, so it may be time to look into other employment options.
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Old 06-25-2012, 11:20 AM
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Was this a worker's comp claim or was your injury unrelated to work?
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Old 06-25-2012, 11:27 AM
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I would strongly advise you to contact your local NC Vocational Rehabilitation office as soon as possible. If you are eligible for services, a Voc Rehab counselor can advocate for you with your employer to retain your employment with them. There are laws that they can remind your employers about, but generally this works only before your job has ended. If retaining your employment even in a lighter duty capacity is not possible, a Voc Rehab Counselor can help guide you on to a career path that is a better fit for your current physical limitations. This might even include financial assistance with retraining.

You would need to talk to the unemployment benefits folks about when to apply and when and whether you'd be eligible.

However, I would strongly encourage you to consider this your very last option. Unemployment benefits are a sweet deal, but only for a short time. One thing that has happened in recent years is that employers are becoming reluctant to hire anyone who is not currently employed and if you've been unemployed for any length of time it can be almost impossible to get hired anywhere else period.

I'm sure there will be lawsuits and who knows how that will settle out. But in the meantime, employers tend to view those who are unemployed for length of time as slackers. Even given the recent economic downturn with all the layoffs, there is stigma attached to anyone who "coasted" along on unemployment benefits instead of getting out and hustling up something.

Good luck with your next adventure.
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Old 06-25-2012, 11:37 AM
2 posts, read 3,123 times
Reputation: 16
Originally Posted by evaofnc View Post
Was this a worker's comp claim or was your injury unrelated to work?
I had Shuermanns Kyphosis. A upper severe curve of the spine. I had a fusion done. I was born with this. Didn't notice it until around high school. I had to get this surgery done because it was getting painful, and later in life it could result in organ compression. This was not a work related injury.

Another painful loss on my part was that i took out 2,500 on a flexible spending account through my employer. I took it out to help cover my expenses of surgery. The way it works is after the bills start rolling in, i pay out of pocket, then send in proof of payment to the company that the account is through. They then re- imburse me. So i get a 600.00 anathesiology bill, followed by a few small bills to add up to 900.00. The surgery was completely wrote off by the Wake Med hospital. So i lost 1600.00. It was being taken out of my check every 2 weeks. I had no idea that the hospital writes off surgery costs.....
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Old 06-25-2012, 05:41 PM
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It's not your fault that you had this condition in your back and therefore I think you have a good chance at receiving UI. The question is will the employer fight you? My employer fought me on a similar but not as serious case and I lost at the hearing but won at the appeal. I'd go ahead and file now to see what happens.

I'm disturbed that your HR person said the worse thing that could happen would be "they" say no when "they" is the employer. You might want to ask them if they will challenge you. If the answer is no then you're in the clear and will be receiving benefits in a couple of weeks.
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Old 06-26-2012, 05:57 AM
2,647 posts, read 6,083,157 times
Reputation: 3408
You definitely need to talk with a lawyer who specializes in employment issues--most all of them will provide a free consultation to determine what options you have. From what you describe, you may very well have protections under the Americans with Disabilities Act. You need to know your rights in this situation. Good luck!
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