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Old Yesterday, 03:28 PM
 
49 posts, read 9,630 times
Reputation: 248

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I have a few questions concerning employment and health insurance. Mods, I hope that it is okay to use this forum; please let me know if it's not.

Apologies in advance for the length of this post.

I have a family member who was employed for six years by the same company. Three months after her hire she was diagnosed with MS. She had already been covered by the co. health plan so her treatment has been covered as well as medication. She has the RR type of MS that has not affected her motor skills at this point, only fatigue and some cognitive abilities (mostly tied to the fatigue). Only 2 relapses in the six years.

V is a great worker, always on time, does not take time off except for dr. appt every six months and was the top performing person in her dept. Excellent reviews and feedback from the dept. Head.

About a year ago the company came out with a zero tolerance policy for workplace infractions. They included a policy against "bullying".

Flash forward a few months.
A woman in her dept who has demonstrated emotional problems called HR and complained that V was making it a point to walk out of the break room every time she walked in. A few weeks later she filed another baseless complaint, something about V not responding to her Skype immediately. Both attended a meeting with supervisors and were counseled. No written reprimand was issued, only V signed that she received a copy of the anti bullying policy.

Most recently, there was a MS walk that V has done for the last few years. The company has made a contribution and made local branch employees aware of it for a few years. Not a company sponsored event.

A new supervisor over V's dept. complained to HR that she was "excluded" from the MS walk because she did not get an invite.
V was subsequently terminated after an HR "investigation" (who choose did not include speaking to her) and her medical benefits terminated immediately. For violating policy - excluding co worker from company event.

This occurred while the dept. Head was on vacation and he was shocked and dismayed at losing his best employee upon his return.
Company also denied her UE benefits and HR instructed all supervisors that they may not give references for fired employees.

Termination was end of May. V found another job mid July, same line of work and pay.

So - my questions are:

Wrongful termination- your thoughts?

Can she be denied health insurance at the new job (60 day wait period) for pre existing condition?

I am at a loss as to how to advise her. It is really hard to deal with all this and start a new job at the same time, especially for her.

I'd appreciate any help / advice
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Old Yesterday, 03:45 PM
 
49 posts, read 9,630 times
Reputation: 248
I just wanted to add that V did not ask for unreasonable accommodations for her disability at the former company. Only that the w/o be checked because she is very sensitive to heat.
It was found that the system was not working properly.
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Old Yesterday, 04:10 PM
 
9,339 posts, read 12,076,214 times
Reputation: 14627
Quote:
Originally Posted by DogFur View Post
So - my questions are:

Wrongful termination- your thoughts?

Can she be denied health insurance at the new job (60 day wait period) for pre existing condition?

I am at a loss as to how to advise her. It is really hard to deal with all this and start a new job at the same time, especially for her.
Nobody here can answer if it is or isn't wrongful termination as there is probably a whole lot more details that wasn't disclosed. Since Wrongful Terminations is fact based, without all the facts, any answer is just butt gassing.

No, she will not be denied employer sponsored health insurance (I'm surprised you had to even ask).

The best advice is to recommend she sit with a qualified experience labor attorney specializing in employee affairs to go over the FACTS and have them advise the next steps.


As an FYI, her former employer does not decide if she gets unemployment or not, that is the sole and only domain of the State which has very specific federal and state regulations they must follow, along with BOR determinations/opinion and court rulings. If she didn't get benefits it was because she was properly fired for misconduct or she didn't know what she was doing and blew it herself.
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Old Yesterday, 05:38 PM
 
49 posts, read 9,630 times
Reputation: 248
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rabrrita View Post
Nobody here can answer if it is or isn't wrongful termination as there is probably a whole lot more details that wasn't disclosed. Since Wrongful Terminations is fact based, without all the facts, any answer is just butt gassing.

No, she will not be denied employer sponsored health insurance (I'm surprised you had to even ask).

The best advice is to recommend she sit with a qualified experience labor attorney specializing in employee affairs to go over the FACTS and have them advise the next steps.


As an FYI, her former employer does not decide if she gets unemployment or not, that is the sole and only domain of the State which has very specific federal and state regulations they must follow, along with BOR determinations/opinion and court rulings. If she didn't get benefits it was because she was properly fired for misconduct or she didn't know what she was doing and blew it herself.
Really?
Was that necessary?

I retired in 2009, have not kept up with any changes in health care regulations (have no need to). Some of the info on the new HC website is confusing as to preexisting conditions so I thought I'd ask in the hope that perhaps someone with more current knowledge than I and an interest in helping out a fellow human being would respond.

I stated the facts as I know them to be. Why assume otherwise?
I've run into multitudes of crazy, gossipy, vindictive co-workers in my work life. And I've worked in management for two fortune 100 companies as well as smaller ones. And that doesn't exclude HR employees.

Anyone else have any suggestions?
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Old Yesterday, 05:45 PM
 
Location: Seattle
1,867 posts, read 1,065,561 times
Reputation: 3222
She should not be denied company sponsored health insurance. She should have also had the option to continue her previous company insurance through COBRA to avoid any break in coverage.



As for wrongful term? That has a very specific legal definition. Why does she feel she was fired? If it's because of the claims made by co-worker and new manager then it does not meat the legal definition no matter how shallow or petty those claims were.

Just because a company action is legal, doesn't make it good management. Conversely, just because it's bad management doesn't make it illegal.
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Old Yesterday, 06:08 PM
 
49 posts, read 9,630 times
Reputation: 248
Thanks Sockeye for your reply.

As far as the question of why she was fired - the reason given was violation of company policy (related to bullying , example given was not telling supervisor personally about ms walk) HR stated that it was a company event even though it was not. It is an annual walk that V and a few of her coworkers have participated in for a few years.
She is questioning whether her disability had anything to do with her firing or whether she was just a casualty of vindictive co-workers.

I suppose that you are correct that no matter how ridiculous and middle school the circumstances, it doesn't qualify as wrongful termination.

She couldn't afford the Cobra ins so she had a lapse. She's just glad to have found another job.

Last edited by DogFur; Yesterday at 06:30 PM..
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Old Yesterday, 08:00 PM
 
21,208 posts, read 16,924,360 times
Reputation: 39616
Quote:
Originally Posted by DogFur View Post
I have a few questions concerning employment and health insurance. Mods, I hope that it is okay to use this forum; please let me know if it's not.

Apologies in advance for the length of this post.

I have a family member who was employed for six years by the same company. Three months after her hire she was diagnosed with MS. She had already been covered by the co. health plan so her treatment has been covered as well as medication. She has the RR type of MS that has not affected her motor skills at this point, only fatigue and some cognitive abilities (mostly tied to the fatigue). Only 2 relapses in the six years.

V is a great worker, always on time, does not take time off except for dr. appt every six months and was the top performing person in her dept. Excellent reviews and feedback from the dept. Head.

About a year ago the company came out with a zero tolerance policy for workplace infractions. They included a policy against "bullying".

Flash forward a few months.
A woman in her dept who has demonstrated emotional problems called HR and complained that V was making it a point to walk out of the break room every time she walked in. A few weeks later she filed another baseless complaint, something about V not responding to her Skype immediately. Both attended a meeting with supervisors and were counseled. No written reprimand was issued, only V signed that she received a copy of the anti bullying policy.

Most recently, there was a MS walk that V has done for the last few years. The company has made a contribution and made local branch employees aware of it for a few years. Not a company sponsored event.

A new supervisor over V's dept. complained to HR that she was "excluded" from the MS walk because she did not get an invite.
V was subsequently terminated after an HR "investigation" (who choose did not include speaking to her) and her medical benefits terminated immediately. For violating policy - excluding co worker from company event.

This occurred while the dept. Head was on vacation and he was shocked and dismayed at losing his best employee upon his return.
Company also denied her UE benefits and HR instructed all supervisors that they may not give references for fired employees.

Termination was end of May. V found another job mid July, same line of work and pay.

So - my questions are:

Wrongful termination- your thoughts?

Can she be denied health insurance at the new job (60 day wait period) for pre existing condition?

I am at a loss as to how to advise her. It is really hard to deal with all this and start a new job at the same time, especially for her.

I'd appreciate any help / advice
Thankfully the White House effort to disable the ACA has not yet been able to touch the pre-existing condition law, it’s still in effect and she can’t be denied insurance. As for wrongful termination, unless she’s in a union she’s out of luck. Every state as far as I’m aware is “at will” meaning employer can fire you for any reason, or no reason.
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Old Yesterday, 08:45 PM
 
9,339 posts, read 12,076,214 times
Reputation: 14627
Quote:
Originally Posted by ocnjgirl View Post
As for wrongful termination, unless she’s in a union she’s out of luck. Every state as far as I’m aware is “at will” meaning employer can fire you for any reason, or no reason.
Actually "Wrongful Termination" is a defined act with specific legal requirements and "AT Will" is not a factor in a Wrongful Termination case. It's a common misunderstanding.
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Old Yesterday, 10:06 PM
 
21,208 posts, read 16,924,360 times
Reputation: 39616
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rabrrita View Post
Actually "Wrongful Termination" is a defined act with specific legal requirements and "AT Will" is not a factor in a Wrongful Termination case. It's a common misunderstanding.
Of course there is wrongful termination for protected things such as disability etc. But something like “you don’t fit in here, we feel your personality is too overbearing” etc nothing like that is protected. You can be fired just because we don’t like you in most if not all states again unless it’s union.


https://employment.findlaw.com/losin...rmination.html
“No matter what kind of case, motive is difficult to prove in law. Employment discrimination and wrongful termination cases are difficult to win because the employee must prove that the employer acted with a specific illegal motivation (i.e. the employee was fired because of his race, sex, national origin, etc.)” Jun 20, 2017
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Old Today, 12:06 AM
 
9,339 posts, read 12,076,214 times
Reputation: 14627
Yes, for a Wrongful Termination case to be valid it must be based on a defined action that is listed as illegal under the law.

The term "wrongful termination" means that an employer has fired or laid off an employee for illegal reasons in the eyes of the law. Illegal reasons for termination include:

Firing in violation of federal and state anti-discrimination laws;
Firing as a form of sexual harassment;
Firing in violation of oral and written employment agreements;
Firing in violation of labor laws, including collective bargaining laws; and
Firing in retaliation for the employee's having filed a complaint or claim against the employer.


Even an employee who is not in a union and is located in an At-Will state can have a valid Wrongful Termination action if any of the above occurred. All of them are independent of union status and At Will.

In the case of the OP, nobody knows the underlying reason as we are not the ones who fired the employee and the employee herself was not given any legally deficient reason, so a case of Wrongful Termination is questionable at this stage based on the story. However, the employee could make a discrimination complaint to EEOC and let the company have to be forced to justify the termination. From what little facts that were given, I did spot a "Oh Sheetz" statement that I would have been at EEOC's door the next day.
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