Since I am no longer affiliated with the company,I wanted to share with the board how I learned the hard way about labor laws, loopholes and how corporations will screw employees.
So,after my six week recovery,I was cleared by the surgeon to go back to work.Four days before I was going to come back,my chef calls me to tell me "it would be in my best interest if I moved on".He was pretty upset [on the verge of tears] because he knew I did nothing to get fired.I didn't plan on having my colon rupture;it just happened.I asked if my surgery had anything to do with it and he said he was "not at liberty to say".RED FLAG!!!
Why was I let go? I was due for the group insurance plan in a couple of months [they had a long waiting period for insurance;not the normal 90 days] and they knew I'd need a second surgery in December to re-connect my colon and get this cursed colostomy bag off of me.At the time this happened,I was in the process of getting a private policy.One more week and I would have been covered,but Murphy's Law said otherwise!
Now even if I get another policy,I have to wait a full YEAR for the surgery because of the pre-existing condition requirements.I only needed the bag for 4 to 6 months,now I am stuck with my companion [no pun intended] till next June.Nice,huh?
I was told that there were not enough hours to keep me on,but I knew that was a total lie because I had seen the 4 weeks worth of BEO's on the board and knew how many hours everyone was working,but we all know the "not enough hours" trick.I'd kept in touch with co-workers and they were complaining how the work had increased because I wasn't there and not replaced.My position has not been filled to this day.
So at the time of surgey,I was uninsured.You can imagine how much it cost me,but hospitals give up to a 50% discount if you had no insurance...BUT,you have to pay the bill in full within 30 days.I was lucky enough to have the funds to cover it,but it was a HUGE chunk out of our retirement fund.The other alternative was to file bankruptcy,which I was doing anything to avoid!
Now here's where the fun begins: I was granted unemployment even though the company gave two separate reasons for me being terminated,both of which contradicted each other.Even the Labor Dept.thought it sounded fishy,so they advised me to go to the EEOC.
Turns out the state of GA. is all about protecting the employer.There is no such thing as "temporary medical disability discrimination" here.And I was just shy of working there a year,so I didn't qualify for FMLA,so my six weeks were unpaid.
The very nice person at the EEOC felt terrible at having to tell me there was no legal recourse I could take because while what they did was "horrendous,immoral and unethical",they did not break any laws.Now,if it were CA. she told me I would have had a "Right To Sue" letter in my hand that day...but GA. is nowhere near as progressive a state.
And I found out that the company had a previous class-action lawsuit against them for taking money out of paychecks for breaks that were never taken...nice!
But life goes on;I start a new job next week and I feel fine and have even more strength because of this.Karma will get them back for me.