Is this just?

Got injured on the job which required surgery. It was to my left arm which is also the arm I write with. Two months after surgery my boss wanted to know why I was not working. Tried to go into work with sling on even though none of the doctors released me. Boss questioned everything about injury wanted to know why I was wearing sling. Company never offered other work for me. Fast forward, five months after surgery the company doctor finally cleared me to return with restrictions but did not discharge me. In fact, he prescribed four more weeks of therapy. The first day back, they lay me off saying the department is reorganizing and I am no longer needed. I was the only person to lose a job in this reorganization. What I don't understand is co-workers of mine who I know were reprimanded and written up numerous times for various infractions are still working and I (with a spotless record) lose my job. How is this fair??

2 answers  |  asked Mar 8, 2011 8:29 PM [EST]  |  applies to Pennsylvania

Answers (2)

Doris Dabrowski
You may have some remedy for retaliation for filing a workers' compensation claim or for taking time off due to a serious medical condition. Possible claims depend on the applicability of the Family & Medical Leave Act to your employment situation. I agree with Mr. Ezold's comments about possible disability discrimination.

In this posting, I can only comment about general principles which may be applicable. For a thorough analysis of the law applicable to your particular situation, please contact me or another lawyer of your choice. Doris Dabrowski, 215-790-1115.

posted by Doris Dabrowski  |  Mar 9, 2011 2:14 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, there is a huge difference between 'unjust,' 'unfair' or 'wrong' and 'illegal.' What is happening appears to be 'unjust.' It is only illegal, however, if you are being treated differently based on your disability, if any. Depending on the nature of the illness/injury/surgery, you may not be 'disabled' under the law, regardless of the sling. Your boss, however, may have viewed you as disabled, in which case you might be protected regardless of disability.

If you were terminated due to your disability, if any, or your employer's belief that you were disabled, you may have a claim of employment discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"). The fact that you were questioned by your boss in a manner that suggests he had a problem with your medical condition, and that you were 'laid off' on the first day of your return, suggests that you were terminated due to the fact that your employer regarded you as disabled, in violation of the ADA.

If you would like to discuss this matter further, please feel free to contact me at the below address(es) or 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  |  Mar 9, 2011 05:57 AM [EST]

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