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#148781 - 04/26/12 10:51 PM Was just informed I will be terminated
BuffaloFan Offline
Contributing Member (25+ posts)

Registered: 04/05/12
Posts: 30
Loc: Rochester NY USA
I was just informed by my employer that I will be terminated due to I cannot return to work with in the 12 weeks of FMLA. Can they do this?
I am receiving short term disability from them and I am not sure what I can do at this point. I am also going through a divorce I cannot afford.
I live in NY State.
squamous cell carcinomas Stage 2, 1/26/2012. Surgery 2/15/2012 - Finished Chemo 5/18/2012 Finishing Radiation 5/29/2012
So make every minute count-Jump up, jump in and seize the day-And let's make sure that in every single possible way -Today is gonna to be a great day

#148782 - 04/26/12 11:20 PM Re: Was just informed I will be terminated [Re: BuffaloFan]
EricS Offline
Patient Advocate (1000+ posts)

Registered: 01/03/09
Posts: 1844
Loc: Idaho
When it rains it pours is what my mom used to say. Certainly happened in my case as well.

New York is an "At Will" employment state, meaning that you can be fired (or quit) for any reason at any time. The exceptions in New York labor laws are only in regards to discrimination based on Race, Creed, National Origin, Age, Handicap, Gender, Sexual Orientation, and Marital Status.

There are also provisions in their laws that prohibit release for political or recreational activities outside of work, legal use of consumable products outside of work, membership in a Union and making complaints about the employer to the Commissioner of Labor or their representatives about any provision of the Labor Law.

Now in "At Will" states (Idaho is one as well and I was an employer and hiring manager which is why I know what I know about it) the labor laws generally favor the employer, so it can be difficult to build a case. Remember now however, the Employee Handbook (which is in fact a contractual agreement) of the company is where you will find what an employer can and can't do if there isn't a specific Employment Contract signed between the employer and employee, which would then supersede the Employee Handbook unless stipulated in either document.

So my first suggestion to you is to dig out your Employee Handbook or your Employment Contract if you had one in place as your employment guidelines will be layed out in those documents and let you know what they can or cannot terminate you for outside of the state law.

If you find that they have violated anything within those agreements then you have a case, just be sure to document or record "everything". This will also help when/if you need to file for State Unemployment Benefits. One of the reasons I was a good manager was I knew my state laws inside and out and my employee handbook (I wrote the majority of them) as I had a way of keeping our unemployment insurance very low by making sure I dotted my "i's" and crossed my "t's" and knew what I could terminate for and what I couldn't.

Let me know if I can help there, I'd be happy to take a look, just remember, I'm a hick from Idaho and not an attorney. smile

Keep your chin up brother, just know when it rains it pours and you just have to weather the storm.


Edited by EricS (04/26/12 11:22 PM)
Young Frack, SCC T4N2M0, Cisplatin,35+ rads,ND, RT Mandiblectomy w fibular free flap, facial paralysis, "He who has a "why" to live can bear with almost any "how"." -Nietzche "WARNING" PG-13 due to Sarcasm & WAY too much attitude, interact at your own risk.

#148783 - 04/26/12 11:47 PM Re: Was just informed I will be terminated [Re: EricS]
EricS Offline
Patient Advocate (1000+ posts)

Registered: 01/03/09
Posts: 1844
Loc: Idaho
I will note however, that they do need to wait until you've missed the 12 weeks in a 12 month period before they use that as a reason to let you go. They can't preemptively fire you because of it to my knowledge.

(for the record the first response was in 29 minutes, well thought out and referenced NY State laws even...that's badass and a reason our forums Rock the House!)


Young Frack, SCC T4N2M0, Cisplatin,35+ rads,ND, RT Mandiblectomy w fibular free flap, facial paralysis, "He who has a "why" to live can bear with almost any "how"." -Nietzche "WARNING" PG-13 due to Sarcasm & WAY too much attitude, interact at your own risk.

#148785 - 04/27/12 12:43 AM Re: Was just informed I will be terminated [Re: EricS]
Anne-Marie Offline
Patient Advocate (old timer, 2000 posts)

Registered: 11/03/06
Posts: 2671
Loc: TN
You will get through this. I just know you will. My son was in pretty much the same spot you are, except that he had already lost his job, and going thru a very difficult divorce. He also had squamous cell Stage 2 but now, more than 5 years later he doing really great! In fact, he told me recently that life for him is even better than it was before cancer! He has a new significant other in his life, a great job and they just bought a new house.

Eric knows what he is talking about and it looks like he's given you great suggestions above. So hang in there and keep checking in here to let us know what is happening with you.
CG to son, Paul (age 33, non-smoker) SCC Stage 2, Surgery 9/21/06, 1/6 tongue Rt.side removed, +48 lymph nodes neck. IMRTx28 completed 12/19/06. CT scan 7/8/10 Cancer-free! ("spot" on lung from scar tissue related to Pneumonia.)

#148842 - 04/29/12 05:05 PM Re: Was just informed I will be terminated [Re: Anne-Marie]
tracyinkits Offline
"OCF Canuck"
Contributing Member (25+ posts)

Registered: 09/21/11
Posts: 35
Loc: Calgary Alberta Canada
Sorry to hear. The US has such notoriously rude HR Law practices. (Move to Canada! lol) Is Cancer or any other medical condition not deamed a 'handicap' as you put Eric? So vulgar...its so reprehensible! I am mad.
Tracy Dx @ age 47
Single No dependants
NS/Social ETOH
Clinical Study (early detection)
Dx July/09 Mod. Dysplasia (lichen planus)
Dx Sept/11 TisN0M0 SSC Lt Tongue
Sx Oct/11 CO2 Laser Glossectomy
Sx Mar/12 Release of tongue anchoring (Skin graft)
Lingual Nerve Damage

#148846 - 04/29/12 06:07 PM Re: Was just informed I will be terminated [Re: tracyinkits]
Deejer47 Offline
"Above & Beyond" Member (500+ posts)

Registered: 09/16/08
Posts: 711
Loc: Chico, Ca.
And I thought my employer was cold when I lost my seniority (I was no.2 out of 50) and had to start over at the bottom of the heap. There are some cold blooded people out there, but then there's karma too.
David R. 65 yr old male non-smoker, light drinker, stage 3 or 4, depending on which doc you ask, scc rt. tonsil, 2 nodes, 7 weeks radiation and chemo. No surgery. Teatment ended 3/20/08. PET scan 8/08 showed no cancer.
And now, as of oct, 2010, caregiver to wife, Linda, with breast cancer.
May, 2013, Linda diagnosed with stage 3 ovarian cancer. Enuf already.

#148851 - 04/29/12 08:11 PM Re: Was just informed I will be terminated [Re: Deejer47]
Marly Offline
Contributing Member (25+ posts)

Registered: 03/31/12
Posts: 37
Loc: Rocky Point New York
I know that where I use to work as long as you had doctors notes you were covered and they could not let you go while under a doctors care. Very heartless company there, I agree with Deejer47 100% about karma it will come back to them 100%!!!
Hang in there we are here for you!!!!
Female- Age 49, Non-smoker, I Had 6 weeks of rad/30 treatments, No Chemo.
1/2 of my tongue had to be removed as well as Lymph Nodes. Surgery was 11 & 1/2 Hours long. 40 Lymph Nodes where removed, only one was cancerous. smile

My Motto since my diagnoses- It's All In The Attitude!!!

#148854 - 04/29/12 09:02 PM Re: Was just informed I will be terminated [Re: Marly]
ChristineB Online   content
Administrator, Director of Patient Support Services
Patient Advocate (old timer, 2000 posts)

Registered: 06/23/07
Posts: 9433
Loc: PA
The Family Medical Leave Act was made to provide all full time employees with a way to handle major medical issues for themselves of an immediate family member. This is for any full time employee who has worked for full time for a minimum of one full year. It cant be 11 months and 20 days even, it must be the full year. An employee is granted up to 12 weeks of time off. Very few companies are nice enough to pay their employees for the full 12 weeks.

Eric is right, you can not be terminated before you exhaust the 12 weeks of FMLA. A good friend of mine recently experienced the same thing when she hit week number 13. She was then fired for her attendance after being a model employee for 7 years. In todays economy it seems like all employers are tightening their belts and anyone who becomes a potential risk to the employer is let go. Most businesses if they want to get rid of someone they will work to find a reason to fire them, even if they need to build several weeks of documentation to do it.
In my situation, I was very lucky my employer paid me my whole salary for 13 weeks. After the 13 weeks, I was paid half pay for the rest of the time I was off. Their catch was I needed to return to work before it became a full year off. After that my company would have worked with social security for permanent disability. My medical situation was severe enough to force me to remain home for 11.5 months before I tried to return part time. As luck would have it my job title was overstaffed and they offered a buyout to leave. Since I was not physically able to do my job anymore, I took the buyout and left. After going thru the FMLA paperwork thru 3 rounds of OC, I learned quite alot about FMLA guidelines. I also had previously been the one to hire/fire for 12+ years in the jobs before Verizon. I had also been a union steward for several years so went into enough dismissal grievance meetings and heard alot more info than I wanted to about how people would attempt to get around the FMLA guidelines.

I wish you all the best with finding another job. If you are physically able to work you may want to apply for unemployment. It doesnt hurt to apply, you can now do it right online. The worst that can happen is they deny you and you need to then file an appeal. At least if you get unemployment it would be something coming in while you are searching for a new job. Good luck!!!
SCC 6/15/07 L chk & by L molar both Stag I, age44
2x cispltn-35 IMRT end 9/27/07, no caregiver
Clear PET 1/08
4/4/08 recur L chk Stag I
surg 4/16/08 clr marg
215 HBO dives
3/09 teeth out, trismus
7/2/09 recur, Stg IV
8/24/09 trach, ND, mandiblctmy
3wks medicly inducd coma
2 mo extended hospital stay, ICU & burn unit
PICC line w/ IV antibiotics 8 mo
10/4/10, 2/14/11 reconst surg
OC 3 times in 3 years
very happy to be alive smile


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