Was I laid off?
(New Jersey, USA)
I had been working for my employer for 11 months when I developed a non work related medical condition which when symptomatic prevented me from performing a few job functions. I was not eligible for FMLA due to me only being with the company for 11 months. I was seen by primary Care physician and presented my employer with work restrictions and paperwork endorsed by my doctor. My supervisor accommodated me by placing me on light duty in an effort to prevent me from becoming symptomatic. However, I was removed from light duty 30 mins into my shift by my general manager and told to work in an area that would cause me to become symptomatic, I expressed my concerns to my general manager and went to work where she told me to go, roughly 20 mins in my work I became symptomatic as I had told her I would, the work in that area was too heavy for me. As my symptoms began to worsen I went to my supervisor for help. My supervisor accommodated me for five minutes before my general manager called me into her office and told me that I should "decide what's best for me" work vs. health wise. I insisted that I wanted to continue to perform my job. However, I would have to be accommodated as per my restrictions. I was then told by my general manager that there were no reasonable accommodations and I was sent home which led me to believe that I was being laid off due a to lack of work for me. After two months of being out of work I filed for unemployment. My benefits were then stopped after three months of receiving payments. I was told by unemployment that my employer has me listed as being on a leave of absence which I knew nothing about, I had no further contact with my employer after the night I was sent home and I did not file for a leave of absence. My employment status as of today is still active even though I have not worked in six months, I contacted human resources department for leaves of absence and they were equally confused because they do not have me listed as being out on leave. I was not fired, I didn't refuse any work, and my medical condition is non cardiac but is chest related
and of no fault of my own. The restrictions laid out by my doctor were, should I become symptomatic I would be accommodated breifly until the symptoms subsided. My restrictions did not prevent me from finishing out my shift. I know of at least three coworkers who had restrictions yet they were honored one person being my sibling who worked with me. My general manager and I were at odds since my condition began which was so severe at that time I had to leave work by emergency response. After-which I immediately began seeing my doctor regularly to find a cause and solution. I feel my supervisor was willing to comply with my restrictions and had accommodated me before being over stepped by my general manager who in my opinion treated me unfairly and I have been suffering since.
I'd Say You Were Duped By an Unethical GM Whose Actions Should Be Ringing Alarm Bells for HR, Now That You Say You Made Them Aware of What's Going On
I guess, I'm venturing a guess, to say the GM was effectively trying to get rid of you to make you think you were discharged, but without going to the trouble of first involving HR to comply with the employer's leave policies and compliance with more than one employment laws affecting workplaces, since you were working on your health and medical advice that required some sort of work accommodation decision .. even if FMLA wasn't yet an option.
But the basic question for me now, is how the employer responded to the UI dept that you were still employed, but out on medical leave that effectively makes you appear as not being able and available to work, which is a requirement to collect benefits .. and all supposedly, with the employer's HR department telling you they were confused to not know anything about that.
Any ideas on how, or why the HR department is confused about your employment status?
And more importantly .. did you appeal that claim determination, or more likely, a redetermination, timely so you can get whatever issue was used to stop benefits .. straightened out? Appealing that determination, is the only thing I know to tell you about to do now .. that you tell me it's the determination that stopped the benefits .. after three months of being determined eligible to receive benefits.