Is my doctor's return from LOA request unreasonable for my employer?

I am having an employment related issue at one of America’s largest companies. I am a manager at the company and a victim of overt gender discrimination from a district level manager.

The situation continued and began to cause me extreme anxiety and depression. I started going to see a psychologist and psychiatrist. I was placed on anti-depressants and anxiety medication. After several weeks of therapy, I gained the courage to report it to the EEOC and filed a lawsuit that they have accepted. After reporting the issue to the EEOC, I was placed on corrective action for minor infractions.

On returning to work, the accommodation was requested by the LOA case manager and my doctor that I be allowed to return to work after my LOA part time for the first two weeks. The company declined this request.

On my return, the district manager who I have the lawsuit against immediately contacted me to state they would be coming out to talk to me my job.

Two days later, I was admitted into the hospital for chest pain, elevated blood pressure and difficulty breathing. I was released the following day but was required to wear a Holter Monitor and see a cardiologist. The doctors believe it may have been an extreme anxiety attack.

Because of the anxiety and stress the situation is causing me, my doctor has requested that I be placed back on LOA. The doctor requested that the company provide an accommodation by removing me from the environment and out from under the manager who the EEOC is suing so that I can return to work.

The company has refused to make a decision on the LOA and refused the accommodation. The LOA is now being peer reviewed by other doctors the company has contracted. Because I am in an LOA status but still being “reviewed”, I am not being paid. This process has gone on for two weeks and I was just advised it would be at least another two weeks before a decision can be made. Because of the LOA review status, I was also told that I could not use my vacation or sick time to ensure that I have some pay coming in.

Is this an unreasonable accommodation that is being requested, is or is the company retaliating because of the lawsuit?

Thank you

2 answers  |  asked Mar 30, 2012 3:39 PM [EST]  |  applies to Pennsylvania

Answers (2)

Doris Dabrowski
Discrimination and retaliation cases depend on specific facts. For a retaliation case, you must show that your prior EEO activity is a cause of adverse action taken against you. You should consult an attorney for a detailed assessment of the facts.

Doris Dabrowski
1525 Locust St., Philadelphia, Pa.

posted by Doris Dabrowski  |  Apr 2, 2012 2:02 PM [EST]
Christopher Ezold
Before I respond to your inquiry, I must state that we have not spoken, I have not reviewed the relevant documents and facts, and I do not represent you. Therefore, my discussion below is not a legal opinion, but is informational only. Finally, my discussion applies only to issues to which Pennsylvania or Federal law apply, unless otherwise specified.

That being said, the facts that you set forth appear to show a clear case of retaliation. Your EEOC claim needs to be amended to include a retaliation claim based on these facts.

You may have other protections besides antidiscrimination laws. For instance, the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) may protect you and give you a right to return to your job. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination against you due to a disability (which you may have, based on your facts).

You are in a very complicated situation; it is unlikely that a continuation of salary would be obtainable for you now, especially as your employer is aware that lack of income will put pressure on you. You should see an attorney as soon as possible to discuss how to resolve your issues with your employer.

If you would like to discuss this matter further, please feel free to contact me at the below address(es) or telephone number.

/Christopher E. Ezold/
The Ezold Law Firm, P.C.
One Belmont Avenue,
Suite 501
Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004
(610) 660-5585

posted by Christopher Ezold  |  Apr 2, 2012 07:48 AM [EST]

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