Possible Class Action.

Possible Class Action. Company might have a policy of isolating individuals on medical leave to force them to quit. I'm a nurse for a local hospital network, and they said you had to be 100% non-disabled to work. The company stated it was the policy to cut me off from network access and email because I'm on forced leave since requesting ADA accommodations. The computer network provides me access to my required continuing education training to maintain my certifications. Without network access, I could lose my job and/or license if I don't complete my required trainings. Without email, I cannot know what is going on in my department or communicate with my colleagues. I am also barred from attending the face-to-face meetings/trainings. The company is represented by Barnes & Thornburg.

3 answers  |  asked Jun 27, 2015 5:08 PM [EST]  |  applies to Illinois

Answers (3)

J. Bryan Wood
Here in Chicago, the EEOC has actively litigated several cases regarding policies requiring employees to be 100% healed before returning to work. That is an ADA issue (as Neil correctly points out) and the legality of the policy is something that could be challenged on a class-wide basis. You may also have rights under the FMLA to be treated the same as other employees on non-medical leaves (assuming you qualify for and are taking FMLA leave). Frequently short-term disability insurance policies and/or wage and hour policies require bar employees on leave from accessing company networks, for fear of violating the terms of the outside insurance carrier's policy or concern over having to pay you for time when you should be on leave. You should definitely consult with an experienced employment lawyer about your situation - and you can find many on this site and others (e.g., www.nela-illinois.org).

posted by J. Bryan Wood  |  Aug 3, 2015 08:12 AM [EST]
Anthony Cameron
This turns on whether you a "qualified person" and whether any accommodation which would allow you to contribute at work is reasonable.

The email cutoff is a little bit of red herring and, as a matter of Illinois law the employer has no duty to facilitate your MCE. Many employers recognize that training nurses on site or on line is in their own enlightened self-interest but access on that score is not mandatory.

It sounds to me like you have to have a first resort to the either IDHR or EEOC, so jumping right to group litigation may not be on the table or on the table yet.

I have run into a small exception to my first paragraph and Neil's response in Infectious Disease wards. The employer was able to articulate a Bona Fide Occupation Rationale for the bright line.

By all means call Neil but I suspect you will also need a Chicago Employee Rights lawyer as well. You can look up the estimable Aaron Maduff on this site. If you have Neil and Aaron in your corner, I like your chances. I think, as a function of geography, I cannot help you but I certainly wish you well and would love to hear an update down the road.

posted by Anthony Cameron  |  Jun 27, 2015 8:59 PM [EST]
Neil Klingshirn
100% non-disabled policies typically violate the ADA. There might be something different about your company's policy, but it would be blazing a new trail. As for cutting off network access, that depends on other factors.

Call me at 330.665.5445, ext. 2 on Tuesday (I'm out on Monday) if you want to talk about this. It's probably not a class action, but its probably not right, either. Your call will probably go to voice mail at first, but mention MEL in your message and I will know to call you back.

Neil Klingshirn

posted by Neil Klingshirn  |  Jun 27, 2015 6:16 PM [EST]

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