Injured, Not Welcomed Back!

Question:

I have been a housekeeper for a senior apt complex for 18yrs. I had to have a knee operation. I was gone for 9 wks. They had replaced with a Ukrainian man, I had worked in a place called Ukrainian village( run by a Ukrainian board) but managed by the company I worked for. When I came back to work, no one welcomed me back; no one asked how I was. Then a manager from the company I work for calls me in the office hands me a schedule to go faster knowing that I am on dr. restrictions. I have an email from the office there that told me, they were told not to welcome me back or ask how I was. They just wanted me out, so that man could have my job. I cried so hard and left and never returned. How can you treat a longtime employee like this? I want to sue them for a hostile environment when I returned. Will I be able too? Thank you.

Signed,

Injured and Out


Answer:

Dear Injured and Out:

I am so sorry that you have experience a hostile environment! I hope that your knee surgery was successful and there is little or no pain. It is very difficult to deal with the kind of situation that you have had, when you have worked for an organization many years, take a medical leave, and then to treated so poorly when you return to work.

Employees are protected from such treatment, when they take steps in advance to protect their jobs. Employees may take a medical leave under the FMLA act, which allows an employee to be out for 12 weeks and return to the same job. Another act protects an employee with a disability, and the company must make reasonable accommodations to the employee so they can perform their work duties. Also the department of labor allows an employee to draw unemployment benefits if they have been wrongfully discharged. It appears from you email that you may have “just quit,” perhaps without giving notice, which probably would disqualify you for unemployment benefits. Very clear communication must be make between the employee and the employers, certainly when an extended leave of absence occurs. Determine in advance if you will be returning to the same position and what the work requirements will be. You ask, “Will I be able to sue?” There is a saying: Anyone can sue anybody for anything. I suggest you make an appointment with your former employer to discuss your feelings and ask why you were treated in this matter. Tell him that you are considering filing a lawsuit. You may get all the information that is bothering you and perhaps even an offer to return to work. Best of luck. Sometimes, unfortunately, we must speak up in our behalf for fair treatment in the workplace. The spirit of WEGO is earned, not given.

Gerald Allen