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    Tancaro's Avatar
    Tancaro Posts: 1, Reputation: 1
    New Member

    Jan 27, 2016, 07:17 PM
    Definition of Disability
    For the last 6 months I have missed a lot of work. First a week for a family emergency. My sister had a stroke and needed help in another state. Then my mother passed away before my sister was released from the nursing home. I took her home with me where she fell and had some severe spiral fractures that required hospitalization and long term nursing care. Then my husbands father died a week later. During this time I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, sjogrens syndrome, plantar fasciitis and fibromyalgia. I had to have emergency retina eye surgery and then an accident where I thought super glue was my eye drops because I couldn't see well. I have used sick leave, vacation and bereavement time for my absences. The doctors have not been able to get my symptoms under control and I am having difficulty at work and at home. This week I came down with a bug of some sort that a lot of people I work with had as well. Since I was on Prednisone it hit me especially hard. I've been unable to get a doctor appointment because half the town is sick and this is a very small town. My boss challenges me being sick as if she doesn't believe me. She is hateful, rude and challenging. I've tried talking to her but her attitude is, "Suck it up Buttercup". She is a young nurse so I would think she would understand the challenges I'm facing. I have kept my work up. My question is, can they fire me for all the work I've missed? I've been there 4 years. It is a government grant position. I do have short term disability available to me however I would rather not go that route yet. Am I protected under disability? Thank you for your consideration of my questions.
    Alty's Avatar
    Alty Posts: 28,318, Reputation: 5972
    Pets Expert

    Jan 27, 2016, 07:25 PM
    Are you part of a Union? If so, you may be protected under that.

    Sadly, most jobs are at will, which means that they can fire you at anytime for any reason, or no reason at all. So yes, they can fire you.

    I am so sorry for what you're going through, but you also need to think about your place of employment. They have had to do without you because of all the things you're going through. No, it's not your fault, but it's not their fault either, and while you're out sick, or on bereavement, they have to make due without you. Not what they signed up for. They don't hire employees they don't need, so when those employees can't work, the business suffers. If it's over and over, they do have to start considering getting someone that can be there for the hours they're hired to work.

    It sucks for you, because none of this is your doing. But as a business, they have to consider more than just what you're going through. They have to have someone they can rely on to come to work, and right now that's really not you.

    I see both sides. And yes, they can fire you. The fact that they haven't yet, is likely because they're hoping that you'll resume your work. But they can't continue to keep you as an employee when you're never there to work.

    Good luck.
    smoothy's Avatar
    smoothy Posts: 25,495, Reputation: 2853
    Uber Member

    Jan 27, 2016, 08:03 PM
    Speaking as someone who knows what even a union will back up (over 20 years in one)... and its one of the best known ones... when you use up all your leave time. They can and will fire you... and not even a Union can defend it.

    Trust me.. I've seen it done... and it happened to the guy who I was hired to replace.

    Yes it sucks from your perspective... but you are causing them an extreme hardship having to cover all your absences.. and it sounds like they have already gone far beyond "reasonable accommodation".

    And yes.. they can demand a doctors excuse before they let you return.. and if you don't produce one immediately, they can fire you. Where I work... three unexcused days and bye-bye. Not in a row... not even in the same year... three total. WITH a union standing behind you.

    If you are at-will they don't even need a reason. And being out that much.. even if you were in a union.. they would have a very difficult time defending you... and unlikely would because it would put them at a severe disadvantage during any future contract negotiations.
    talaniman's Avatar
    talaniman Posts: 54,174, Reputation: 10852

    Jan 27, 2016, 10:12 PM
    If you keep missing work eventually they will fire you, disability, family problem, illness or not. Being too sick to see a doctor gives you no excused absence and makes it worse, so yes, they could fire you.
    J_9's Avatar
    J_9 Posts: 40,291, Reputation: 5645

    Jan 27, 2016, 10:30 PM
    Are you protected under disability? Do you mean ADA? Not unless you have been properly diagnosed as disabled by your treating physician. Even then your employer most likely has an attendance policy its employees must follow.

    I am am sorry you are going through so much turmoil in your life, but being sick is no excuse not to go to a doctor. While yours may be booked up, there are stand alone clinics that you could go to. Yes, you may live in a small town, so you may have to drive a bit to get to one, but if your job is important to you, you will find a way to get to the doctor one way or another.
    joypulv's Avatar
    joypulv Posts: 21,593, Reputation: 2941
    current pert

    Jan 28, 2016, 05:09 AM
    1) Definition of disability depends on what it's for. Social Security has to be total, either permanent or temporary. Employer definitions vary by the employer. You don't say what your job is - nurse?
    2) I have no idea why you described all the time you took off for care of family members. If you want to keep your own job, you hire helpers to care for family. You can't have both.
    3) An employer is under no obligation to understand your family problems.

    I don't know why you aren't taking the straight path on all this. Your doctor fills out a form or writes a letter regarding how disabled you are for the duties of your job, and the employer accepts that or not.
    If I were you I would refrain from talking about all your troubles, especially because you don't separate out all the ones that aren't about your own health.
    ScottGem's Avatar
    ScottGem Posts: 64,966, Reputation: 6056
    Computer Expert and Renaissance Man

    Jan 28, 2016, 06:44 AM
    In terms of employment Disability has to be defined by a physician. If you are applying for protection under your STD or LTD plans, or for government stipends, a doctor has to certify it. If you are looking for protection under ADA, I doubt it you qualify.

    In terms of terminations, you are probably in an at will state which means, that unless protected by a union contract, they can fire you at any time without cause.
    joypulv's Avatar
    joypulv Posts: 21,593, Reputation: 2941
    current pert

    Jan 28, 2016, 01:57 PM
    (There is no ADA protection unless you were hired with an approved disability and the employer knew it.)
    ma0641's Avatar
    ma0641 Posts: 15,681, Reputation: 1012
    Uber Member

    Jan 29, 2016, 08:55 PM
    Remember, someone is paying YOU to work for THEM. If you need the salary, you need to address the other items, possibly through a third party.

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