Opinions needed

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Fran, Dec 16, 2008.

  1. Fran

    Fran Former Site Owner

    Many of you know that easy child had a grand mal seizure and a craniotomy 3 yrs ago. He has been on anticonvulsants but has had no seizure activity. When he has time off, he will be weaned from the medications. He doesn't want to risk losing his driver's license if he does have a seizure. So he stays on them for now.

    Fast forward to present. easy child is working during his year off from school. He has progressed rapidly to the point of training new hires. He thought he should put in for a Family leave act. Someone foolishly told him it is a good thing to have if he ever needs to call off work.(doofus) His neurologist has always reinforced adequate sleep which he does. He applied for this under the condition that his medical information was private. The health service physician had to see him once the info became known. He spent 5 min. with easy child and told him that he will not be allowed to work any equipment or drive any company vehicles.
    easy child was shocked. He tried to explain that he has no limitation but the case was shut for this physician.

    The union steward encouraged easy child to find a position that he would like. Unfortunately there are no open positions.

    easy child brought a letter from the neurologist saying the easy child is safe and has no limitations. He was put of short term disability which was then turned down becauce easy child's neurologist denied that easy child was disabled.

    easy child is devastated and very shaken that his dream has been pulled out from under him. His job application asks if he has any conditions that would create limitations to work. Which he doesn't.

    He was foolish to apply for the family/leave act. He is just a 19yr old kid. He thought it was a safety net. He is starting to feel that the sympathy he was getting from his supervisors is being replaced with "nothing we can do"

    He is not sure what to do but he is starting to get very angry that he is being treated like he is disabled. If he were off his medications then he could work?!? Seems backwards to me.

    Wouldn't you think that a neurologist trumps a GP? We have talked to easy child to be prepared for the worst and hope for the best.
    He now has no income yet he has an apartment to pay for and groceries to buy.
    He has wanted to work here since he was three years old and has been an exemplary employee. I feel so bad for him but I don't really know how to guide him.

    Any thoughts?

    PS:He drives(10 hrs to get home) but he can't work an attraction that has an automatic stop.
  2. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Taking my cue from Susiestar, I would take it to a higher level. Make an appointment, bring all the documentation, explain to them that applying for the Family Leave Act was a mistake. Do not go to the same people he went to before.
    The health svc physician works for the company, right? They are supposed to look out for the company's best interest, not the employee's self interest.
  3. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    Fran - I think all he can do is follow the appeals process.

    I would think that the GP's primary mission, not to be too cynical, would be to safeguard employer against liability. Playing devil's advocate, easy child is on medications for a reason in GP's eyes. If he didn't need them, he wouldn't be on them. Seizures are not predictable - even though in easy child's case, there was a very concrete cause that was addressed.

    What does neuro say about coming off medications? And would being off the medications change employer's mind about what limitations he has? And most importantly, is easy child willing to risk license in order to get dream job? It's a weighty decision for anyone, much less a 19 y/o.

    Kind of ridiculous for employer to say he can't do job because of "disability" but then turn around and deny disability pay. At the very least, they should have to abide by their agent's (GP's) opinion.

    I'm so sorry that his dream has been (hopefully temporarily) derailed.
  4. Jena

    Jena New Member

    Fran I am sorry and my step father recently went thru a similar situation and i do not know the particulars of it yet he fought it and he won. It took several mos to provide all the necessary doctor's to the company and to deal with the co. doctors and the gp versus the specialist opinion, etc.

    I wish him luck in this, yet I would say as Terry said provide the doctor's and move forward to someone above, which will than lead to some type of an appeal process.

    (((hugs to easy child)))) good luck!!
  5. everywoman

    everywoman Active Member

    Wow Fran. He certainly is in a pickle. I would also go above the supervisor's head and talk to someone in a position to make a decision. Make sure he has his all of his paperwork together and rehearse with him what to say and what not to say. Do they have an appeal process? If he is considered disabled, do they have to provide another employment with equal pay? Could you contact someone who knows disability law who could advise him what his rights are as an employee?
  6. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    Some employers will do these things when an employee puts in for FMLA. It's completely illegal, of course. They might be looking out for their own rear ends, thinking of liability and workers' comp. However, if I remember correctly, the employee's physician is the one that makes the call on limitations. No one at his work should know what's going on. Major violations there. I'm not even sure they can force him to see the employer's doctor.

    I had to sit through an 8 hour class for this for work put on by a legal firm. For example, if the employee is off for an FMLA covered day, the employee brings the doctor note. The employer can call the doctor's office to make sure the employee was actually there, but that is ALL the doctor's office can tell them.

    I wish I still had my book on this stuff. He should be working with his union - go above the steward who is probably ignorant of the law. If that doesn't work, have him get the advice and/or assistance of a legal aid attorney (since he's not working and has no income). They have to, by law, find a position for him - and that generally only comes into play when an employee has been off for an extended time all together and they had to fill his/her position. They have to give the employee a position with the same pay and benefits. They cannot simply say, there is no position you can work here. The only employees that there are differences in the law are executives. Further, ADA laws would come into effect if they are calling him disabled and the employer is required to make reasonable accomdations.

    He needs some legal advice. This doesn't pass the smell test at all. I'll do some researching to make sure that I'm correct on the specifics of the law and will post relevant info.
  7. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    From the US Dept of Labor:

    It sounds like the employer should not have used the 'health services physician' as that falls under "regularly contract with or otherwise regularly use the services of the health care provider". Further, since the two physicians don't agree, it sounds like he can get a third opinion at the employer's expense.

    In any case, they cannot deny him work.
  8. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    If his employer doesn't do the right thing, he should file a complaint with the Dept of Labor. He should get back pay for the wages he lost because of the employer's failure to comply.
  9. Fran

    Fran Former Site Owner

    Thank you for the opinions everyone. I'm reading all of them over a second time.

    Wyntersgrace, thanks for all the different official info. easy child and I will have to go through it and get our ducks in a row. I figure I will call and get some details. I want to make sure I have all the facts. I suspect they are thinking he is just a 19yr old entry level employee.
  10. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Has he ever been seizure-free off medications?

    If he's not having seizures and he's taking his medications (and has been seizure-free for 6 months or longer), I don't see how they can say he's unable to do the job.

    In our state, if you are seizure-free (with or without medications) for 6 months, a doctor's clearance means you are free to drive again (at least that was husband's experience). I don't know what the rules are for an employer, though. Hopefully the advice others have offered here will help you figure this all out. What a mess...
  11. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I don't have a lot of experience but it doesn't sound like they are playing by the rules. I hope things are able to be straightened out because I know how much your easy child has always wanted this job.
  12. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Fran, they think they have a 19yo kid who they can tell whatever they want and not have to deal with the entire issue.

    They are playing fast and loose with the law. The labor steward SHOULD know the law, at least the ones I have known have always had to know it, and the labor steward SHOULD be advocating for easy child. Otherwise why is easy child paying union fees??

    Did easy child actually need time off? Or just fill out the paperwork so that if he ever got the flu he would be covered? I am not sure what circumstances it is appropriate to fill out the paperwork for FMLA absence.

    I hope that this can be straightened out with a minimum of expense and animus on your and easy child's part - and that the company is not vindictive (they should not be - but he should watch out for his back.)

    Sorry he is going through this.
  13. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    Fran, sorry I'm a bit late on this.

    As an epileptic for 40 plus years, I've learned not to share that type of information with employers. I've worn a medical alert pendant under my shirt/blouse for emergency purposes. However, as my "condition" was not a disability I never asked for special accomodations. It was a non issue.

    My father & sister are both epileptics & do the same thing I did. We hang onto our driver's licenses by following state laws & neurologists orders. My dad needed a special class driver's license & his neurologist cleared him for it. The company he worked for never knew or needed to know of his condition.

    Now if easy child were having regular active seizure activity that would be another story.

    I guess I'm saying all this in case easy child loses his beloved job & needs to find another. (That would be cause for wrongful termination unless his terms of employment specifically asked about medical conditions that might put him or others at risk. And that would be determined by neurologist.)

    Epilepsy, possible seizure activity has always been a catch 22 for employees/employers. The law is vague. And saying that the statistics state that diabetics & people with heart conditions cause more motor vehicle accidents than epileptics. That's because we tend to cherish our licenses & take better care of ourselves & follow doctor's orders.
  14. 1905

    1905 Well-Known Member

    Fran, I told a co-worker I had had breast cancer. The next thing I knew, I was told by my supervisor that I suddently couldn't do my job because I had had breast cancer.Even though I had no limitations!!!!! I went to a lawyer Fran, this is discrimination. Get your son to a lawyer!!! I won ALOT of money in back pay and for pain and suffering!!!(Emotional pain for what they put me through) Seriously, as soon as the lawyer became involved they were sorry. Doctors notes are legal documents, get as many as you need in terms of second opinions. Also, reasonable accomodations would need to be made for him IF he really suddenly did aquire a disability- allowing him to still keep his job!! by law!!!-Alyssa
  15. goldenguru

    goldenguru New Member

    Fran -

    If this gets ugly, you can contact your area National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). They provide attorneys free of charge when there are disputes of this nature. They work on behalf of labor (versus management).

    You may also want to google ADA to become familiar with what is prohibited.

    Best of luck to easy child.
  16. Abbey

    Abbey Spork Queen

    Sorry getting in this late. But, I have to agree on the non-legal side of things. REAL WORLD. You don't tell your employer about anything. There is some small negative font in some paperwork that you signed that will negate your employment.

    Shoot...I'm legally disabled. You think I'm going to let a flipping grocery store know that? Heck no. They'd get me off their liability list in no time.

    But, easy child has already started the process. Now he needs to follow through. He should have evaluations he can fall back on. Those are legal records. He should have received a copy of them. If not...their problem. It's time and money. If he has it, go for it. From what you have said, he's done a great job.

    I also understand a 19 year old. I don't know if I kept a record at 19. ;) Heck...I was having a baby. Who thinks about records? I hope it all works out for him.

  17. Fran

    Fran Former Site Owner

    Thanks again everyone.
    For some reason epilepsy or the threat of a seizure makes people panic but your diabetic coma or heart attack doesn't? Doesn't seem like a level playing field.
    I could understand if he was an epileptic who chose to not take medications. He would be an unstable employee.

    We have records from his surgery on but truthfully, he has done so well he only gets blood work once a year.

    He is able to do the job. Proven to be a reliable, competant respectful employee. Because of something that may possibly happen he is told he has restrictions which result in no work and no pay.
    Can you imagine what would happen if he was 30 the sole support of 2 kids and had diabetes? Half the work force wouldn't be able to work.
    None of his jobs would have resulted in danger to the guests even if he had a seizure but I'm sure it's not very attractive.
    Hopefully, I'll find out more facts.

    difficult child didn't need the FMLA but "someone" told him it was a good idea to try to get it. Doofus. Life lesson learned. We want easy child to be able to work as he worked before he filled out the stupid form. We/he wants a fair chance and equal opportunity.
  18. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful


    I'm sorry I'm late into this. This is why Travis is forbidden to mention his seizures to anyone. Period. All other disabilities are fair game, but no mentioning the epilepsy. Why? Because the likelihood of anyone hiring him would be nil. People with epilepsy are considered a liability that companys and corporations don't want. Most especially if you're working around any equipment.

    My stepdad had narcolepsy and epilepsy both. He never told a soul and worked in construction and drove his whole life. His condition was between him and his neuro, and he always flat out deny it to anyone except family. I asked him why once. He said if he wanted to work and drive it had to be that way.

    I don't know if there is anything you can do to help easy child or not. My step dad always said that even if they "couldn't" fire him for the epilepsy, they'd make up another reason to get rid of the insurance liability.

    Unfortunately.....I think easy child is learning a painful lesson. I know his were supposed to be cured by the surgery, but the stigma surrounding epilepsy is just as bad as that with mental illness. Shouldn't be this day in age, but it is.

  19. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Oh Fran, I'm so sorry. I know how much easy child liked this job. It certainly doesn't seem fair.

    Hmmm maybe he should go back to college now??

  20. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911


    Isn't there any advocacy group where your son is that could help him with discrimination laws et al? This really sounds like something that is right up the alley of those folks.

    Good luck.