What would you do?... legal situation...

Discussion in 'Pregnancy Help' started by KIERAN-N-BETH, Dec 4, 2006.

  1. KIERAN-N-BETH

    KIERAN-N-BETH Well-Known Member

    Ok.... Here's the long version:

    I work for the county where I live. I had worked there just under a year when i found out that i was expecting. i am ( an i hate to blow my own horn) but darn close to a perfect employee. never miss any days, always on time and I'm a perfectionist! Any ways, when i got prego i missed a few days due to hyperemissis. Like a day a week, then i took a 3 week medical leave, i then cam back and continued missin 1-2 days a week. I have a Dr's excuse for EVERY day i missed!

    After returning from the medical leave for about 2 weeks my supewrvisors came to me and offerd me 2 options. Continue working, but loose ALL benefits including insurance. (their reasoning for this was that i was only working enough to be considered a part time employee), or, stop working and go on an early maternity leave, without pay, and continue to pay my share of the medical insurance and the county would continue to pay their share which is like $350.

    I went ahead and went on leave as to not loose insuance, but now they are saying i only get 12 weeks on coverage, so i'll have to pay full premium, or COBRA for december and january so that i can keep coverage.

    I am seriousley thinking about taking this to a lawyer and the EEOC.

    What should i do?
     
  2. KIERAN-N-BETH

    KIERAN-N-BETH Well-Known Member

    Ok.... Here's the long version:

    I work for the county where I live. I had worked there just under a year when i found out that i was expecting. i am ( an i hate to blow my own horn) but darn close to a perfect employee. never miss any days, always on time and I'm a perfectionist! Any ways, when i got prego i missed a few days due to hyperemissis. Like a day a week, then i took a 3 week medical leave, i then cam back and continued missin 1-2 days a week. I have a Dr's excuse for EVERY day i missed!

    After returning from the medical leave for about 2 weeks my supewrvisors came to me and offerd me 2 options. Continue working, but loose ALL benefits including insurance. (their reasoning for this was that i was only working enough to be considered a part time employee), or, stop working and go on an early maternity leave, without pay, and continue to pay my share of the medical insurance and the county would continue to pay their share which is like $350.

    I went ahead and went on leave as to not loose insuance, but now they are saying i only get 12 weeks on coverage, so i'll have to pay full premium, or COBRA for december and january so that i can keep coverage.

    I am seriousley thinking about taking this to a lawyer and the EEOC.

    What should i do?
     
  3. happymel

    happymel Well-Known Member

    Unfortunately the law only requires our employers to provide insurance coverage for the twelve weeks that you are on FMLA ( family medical leave act). The story gets worse for some because the law doesn't make an employer hold our position past the 12 weeks so some people may lose their jobs. I would just pay Cobra and talk to your supervisor about holding your position for you if you want to go back to work afterwards. It's totally not fair.
    Melanie (22 weeks with b/g twins).
     
  4. SilvrHeart

    SilvrHeart Well-Known Member

    What troubles me most is that after your short leave, you returned - presumably ready, able, and willing to work full time. Your supervisors ASSUMED you wouldn't be able to work full time, but really, they had no proof of that. So, they had no right to take the action they did and I would consult your local eeoc office for advice (you can also look online as there is a lot of employment law information out there on this subject).

    Now, if you went back hoping to be on a part-time schedule, that's a whole different story . . .
     
  5. Beth R

    Beth R Well-Known Member

    You could talk to a lawyer but I doubt that your supervisers did anything without checking if it is legal or not. I have a city job and it is stated in my contract that if I fall under full time hours I could lose benefits. Doctors notes keep you from being fired for to many sick days but that is all. As far as being a perfect employee-I am sure you are but unfortunately that doesnt come into play with their decisions. Everyone is Expected to be at work and on time.I would call Human Resources for a copy of your contract or if you dont have a contract ask them for a copy of the companys laws on sick and leave time.If it contradicts what happened to you then I would seek concil.

    Hugs,
    Beth
     
  6. Overachiever

    Overachiever Well-Known Member

    I voted to pursue it - at least so you know you did everything you could to get covered.
     
  7. FirstTimeMom814

    FirstTimeMom814 Well-Known Member

    Unfortunately, I don't think your employer did anything wrong. If you were unable to work enough hours to be full-time, then they were within their rights to switch you to part-time. When they offered you leave, they should have informed you that you had maximum of 12 weeks. I think at this point you are better off paying COBRA to continue your insurance. Believe me, you don't want to not have insurance when the babies arrive. The bills will be huge even if you have an uncomplicated delivery. You can go ahead and consult an attorney, but I doubt they will find any recourse on your behalf. Once the babies are born you can either switch to you husband's insurance (if that's an option) or shop for an individual plan.
     
  8. kendraplus2

    kendraplus2 Well-Known Member

    OK, I'm gonna give you a bunch of info here ...

    I looked into a lot of this when I went on bedrest over the summer for 5 weeks. Legally, they have to give you 12 weeks of FMLA leave and legally, after that they can do whatever - if you can't return to work they can let you go, unfortunately. BUT ... there is paperwork that you MUST sign indicating that the leave you are taking is for FMLA leave, otherwise it does NOT count against your FMLA time and you are still eligible for that. I think they have 2 or 3 business days from the date you return to have you sign that paperwork or that leave doesn't count and they can't touch you.

    Q: If an employer fails to tell employees that the leave is FMLA leave, can the employer count the time they have already been off against the 12 weeks of FMLA leave?

    In most situations, the employer cannot count leave as FMLA leave retroactively. Remember, the employee must be notified in writing that an absence is being designated as FMLA leave. If the employer was not aware of the reason for the leave, leave may be designated as FMLA leave retroactively only while the leave is in progress or within two business days of the employee’s return to work

    Q: Can the employer count time on maternity leave or pregnancy disability as FMLA leave?

    Yes. Pregnancy disability leave or maternity leave for the birth of a child would be considered qualifying FMLA leave for a serious health condition and may be counted in the 12 weeks of leave so long as the employer properly notifies the employee in writing of the designation.



    Maternity law states that they have to give you 12 weeks of FMLA leave AND they have to treat you like they would treat any other employee under them. FOr example, if a man were to shatter his leg and was off of work for 4 months, and he kept his insurance and returned to his same position, then they MUST do the same for you or it's grounds for a discrimination suit. But if they treat all employees the same - 3 months and you're out, then you're basically SOL.

    I'd look into your company's history and check what they have done for other employees. And if you never signed any paperwork stating that the leaves you have taken were for FMLA, then that doesn't count and you still get your 3 months of leave with full insurance coverage. That said, it all comes down to what kind of company you work for - are they a good, family-orientated company that values you and will hold your position for however long, and keep your ins. going, or are they going to stick it to you because to them you are just another number??? I tell ya, stuff like this makes you realize just what kind of a company you work for.

    http://www.dol.gov/elaws/esa/fmla/faq.asp

    http://www.dwd.state.wi.us/er/labor_standa...erd_13109_p.htm

    http://dwd.wisconsin.gov/er/discrimination...7550_pweb.htm#4

    These are some sites that I had saved in my "favorites" from when I was looking into all of this ... it really helped me and hopefully it will help you too. I actually e-mailed my situation to one of these - I don't remember which, and they got back to me in like 2 days.
     
  9. wunluv

    wunluv Active Member

    This is a tough situation to go through. I was layed off a few months ago under a "lay off". However, no one was touched in MY office except for me. All the other layoffs took place at the corporate office. Everyone else in my office is still there to this day. They took the opportunity to get rid of me under the layoff. If I were not pregnant, I would still have a job. Many in the office told me this. It is sooo unfair but trust me, my company NEVER would have layed me off without making sure they were covered. Companies can be ruthless to pregnant women. I am now stuck paying over 300.00 a month for insurance under COBRA until the babies are born. If there was no layoff, I would sue the **** out of them but I know because they layed off others in the company that they would say that was the only reason I was layed off as well....because of cutbacks. I would have no way to prove otherwise.

    I am glad to be away from them, they were just shady, however, I would have liked it to be on MY terms. I would have stayed for the benefits and then most likely never returned after the babies are born. This is what most companies are afraid of with pregnant women. They have to give you time off under the law and pay for benefits, yet no one is filling your postiion and doing your duties. My company made sure that wouldn't happen.

    So unfortunately, with your company, I don't think they would have made any move without making sure they were covered. They KNOW if they can't show just cause they can be sued for discrimination. I think you are the only one that knows the situation best and if you feel you can PROVE there was wrongdoing, then call a lawyer.It wouldn't hurt anyway...most lawywers will give you a consultation for free and will tell you if you have a case or not. Before they take you on, that's IF they decide you have a case, you will have to file a complaint with the EEOC. Either way, good luck to you.
     
  10. kimber074

    kimber074 Well-Known Member

    it varies so much from state to state, I would definately ask a lawyer where you stand. You can probably get a free consult and see from there.
     
  11. akameme

    akameme Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    do you have short term disability? That's what i'm on right now for bedrest...your medical leave should have been SDI...but it's somehting I pay into with each paycheck and it might be a CA thing.

    It's my understanding and i'm not an expert, that FMLA is for after the kids are born.

    Miriam
     
  12. kendraplus2

    kendraplus2 Well-Known Member

    quote:
    It's my understanding and i'm not an expert, that FMLA is for after the kids are born.


    Unfortunately, they can count time that you need off for a maternity medical leave as FMLA time, but only if they document it as such.
     
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