STD/FMLA situation. refused to accommodate and FMLA lapsed. ODJS D/c without just cause.

I had a massive blood clot in right leg and was on STD/FMLA. My lovely boss would not agree to hold my RN educator job (desk)so my physician cleared me to return to work. I was using cane. Restrictions were to elevate leg as needed minimize standing as needed. This would not be problem with this job. Hospital Employee Health cleared me to return to my job. Boss would not let me work and made me leave the day I returned to work. He met with HR director and concocted story that I wanted light duty and that I could not be accommodated. FMLA lapsed and I lost my position. My employer was fighting to not pay my unemployment. The Ohio Department of Jobs & Services found that I was discharged without just cause. My boss had accommodated an employee during the exact time frame who had knee surgery and was utilizing crutches to ambulate. He has also accommodated other employees in the past. We have had difficulties in the past year and his anger toward me led to discrimination in my mind. With Ohio being a terminate at will state, is this finding by Ohio department of Jobs & Services a basis to sue the company for discrimination and wrongful termination. Thank you.

2 answers  |  asked Mar 14, 2013 11:40 AM [EST]  |  applies to Ohio

Answers (2)

Mark Napier
The finding by ODJFS does not mean you somehow automatically win other potential employment discrimination claims, but it sure helps, and should make the employer sweat a bit. You need to consult with an employment attorney to review your circumstances.

posted by Mark Napier  |  Mar 14, 2013 12:18 PM [EST]
Neil Klingshirn
The favorable finding by ODJFS will not give you grounds for suing for disability discrimination or interference with Family and Medical Leave. However, the facts that caused ODJFS to reach that result appear to give you grounds for such claims.

If you were able to perform your job with a reasonable modification (keeping your leg elevated while you sat at a desk), then prohibiting you from performing your job with that accommodation would appear to violate the Americans with Disabilities Act. This is especially so if the employer allowed other employees such an accommodation in the past.

I encourage you to consider scheduling a consultation to explore the merits of pursuing a claim.

posted by Neil Klingshirn  |  Mar 14, 2013 11:54 AM [EST]

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