My STD and FMLA got revocked same day it was approved. Florida

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My STD and FMLA got revocked same day it was approved. Florida

Post  iscruz7769 on Tue Sep 16, 2008 7:41 pm

I've been working for a major telecommunications company for the last 7 years in which I had different positions from sales to coaching to management. Because of an "ethics" issue with one of our customers I was sent home on "crisis leave" until and investigation was completed, for no more than two days according to them. Facing the possibility of losing my job, the situation became very stressful for me, to the point that I had to go to the Doctor and found out that my blood pressure was way too high and that I was suffering from anxiety. My Doctor recommended that I apply for STD and FMLA which I did, all the paperwork was submitted.
Exactly one week after I got sent home, I'm still waiting for a call from my supervisor. That day around 11:00 I receive a confirmation that my STD and FMLA was approved, with a confirmation sent to me via email. At this moment I felt a sense of relief, thinking that I was not going to lose my job, being confident that everything was going to get resolved, I would probably get a "slap in the wrist" for doing what I did and I would be allowed to go back to work after I get released.
Well, to my dismay, I got a call from my supervisor 3 hours after I got the STD/FMLA approval with the news that because of the investigation and because of what I did, I was being fired. I told my supervisor that I was on STD/FMLA and she said that if I had any questions, that I needed to call Human Resources. After my conversation with her I called the person that called me and sent the STD/FMLA confirmation via email and she said that she didn't know there was an investigation and that because of this, my STD/FMLA benefits were being revocked.
I am originally from PR and I have a relative there that has a degree in Human Resources, he said that the company cannot let me go while on STD or FMLA and that I should seek legal representation because of what they did. At this point I don't know what to do, I've never in my life being in this situation before.

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Re: My STD and FMLA got revocked same day it was approved. Florida

Post  ArmyRetCW3 on Tue Sep 16, 2008 8:30 pm

A response from a Jibaro-Boricua de Mayaguez...

The employer is not restricted from terminating an employee while on FMLA when the termination is not related to the FMLA issue. It appears the termination is not related to FMLA but rather to the issue that occured at work.

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Re: My STD and FMLA got revocked same day it was approved. Florida

Post  JoeC (McGruff) on Tue Sep 16, 2008 9:38 pm

Tough case there are legitimate reasons for terminating employment while on F.M.L. and displine for violtion of a work rule is one.
"An anti–discrimination or retaliation statute such as the FMLA does not exempt an employee from violations of company work rules or job requirements. Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993", §§ 2 et seq., 29 U.S.C.A. §§ 2601 et seq. Jarjoura v. Ericsson, Inc., 266 F. Supp. 2d 519 (N.D. Tex. 2003).

If the investigation results would have led to a slap on the wrist as you believe. But the employer used it as pre- text for dismissal when the real reason was you applied for F.M.L then that would not be legal. In
Hite v. Biomet, Inc., 53 F. Supp. 2d 1013, 6 Wage & Hour Cas. 2d (BNA) 587 (N.D. Ind. 1999), the court held that an employer who validly and legitimately discharges an employee may still be liable to pay that employee lost wages under the FMLA for retaliatory conduct prior to the discharge. A fact issue remained, the court determined, as to whether the employer had retaliated against the employee by creating a hostile work environment after she returned from FMLA leave. However, since the discharge was not because of her disability, that she alleged had resulted from the workplace harassment, but rather was because she failed to comply with corporate rules, she was foreclosed from claiming post termination backpay.

As far your eared S.T.D insurance that may not be taken away once approved,and employed. You should definitely contact an attorney.

Also were you at the investigation ? What was the charge? Were other similarly situated employees disciplined ,and not terminated?
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Re: My STD and FMLA got revocked same day it was approved. Florida

Post  iscruz7769 on Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:52 pm

No, I was not present during the investigation. I received a call from HR and they asked me some questions about it. Part of the issue that was being investigated was something that, because of my role, was something that I used to do almost on a daily basis without thinking that I was doing anything wrong. As far as the first part of the issue I took full ownership of it, thinking that like I said, I was going to be put on probation or something. I was never in any type of disciplinary action during the almost 7 years that I worked at this place, always exceding my sales and I know for fact that some other people did things far worse than what I did and are still working for the company.
Now, going back to the FMLA/STD issue, the reason why I did it was because I wanted to get some type of protection. My intention was not to get revenge or anything like that... At the end, all I wanted was my job back. But I honestly feel that one of the reasons why I was fired was because of the fact that I applied for the benefits. It is too much of a coincidence that I didn't hear from my supervisor up until 3 hours after I receive my confirmation, since I know she received the same email I received. The relative that I made reference in my original post has a masters degree in HR and he made very clear to me that laws are different depending on the state but like I said, I honestly feel that the fact that I lost my job without being placed in any type of disciplinary action first is way too harsh.

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Re: My STD and FMLA got revocked same day it was approved. Florida

Post  JoeC (McGruff) on Wed Sep 17, 2008 1:39 am

iscruz7769 wrote: Part of the issue that was being investigated was something that, because of my role, was something that I used to do almost on a daily basis without thinking that I was doing anything wrong. As far as the first part of the issue I took full ownership of it, thinking that like I said, I was going to be put on probation or something.
Thats pretty vague, I can understand you not posting the offense on the Internet, but you should contact an attorney,and discuss the matter in private.
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Re: My STD and FMLA got revocked same day it was approved. Florida

Post  bears00 on Thu Sep 18, 2008 3:05 am

iscruz7769 wrote:I am originally from PR and I have a relative there that has a degree in Human Resources, he said that the company cannot let me go while on STD or FMLA

Your relative is wrong. Your employer can ABSOLUTELY terminate you despite FMLA leave, they simply cannot terminate you BECAUSE of the leave.

Your employer is under no legal obligation to treat you the same as any other employee provided they aren't treated you differently based upon a PROTECTED reason. Terminating you BECAUSE you were on FMLA is indeed a protected reason. Your employer could use the pretext that you did something wrong as their reason for terminating you. Your biggest legal hurdle will be that you ACTUALLY DID DO SOMETHING WRONG.

As for the STD benefit, that will depend upon how the summary plan description is written as to whether or not that continues past the date of your termination. I have administered some that are fully portable, and some that end the day that your employment ends.

I WOULD, however, speak with an attorney in your area that is well-versed in FMLA. The devil is in the details of what you did wrong. I'll give you an example. Let's say I had an employee that was out on their first day of FMLA leave and I discovered they had been viewing porn from their company computer. I don't give a rat's butt that they are on FMLA---THEY ARE GONE!!! Let's say that same employee wasn't looking at porn, but rather made a very miniscule mistake in quoting a price to the customer, and the quote does not result in any profit margin loss to the company, yet I fire them anyway while on FMLA leave. I could use the pretext that the mistake is what caused the termination; however, the courts wouldn't believe me.

I guess what I am saying is that the actual magnitude of the mistake that you made is going to determine if you have case at all.

GOOD LUCK!
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