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EEOC and American’s with Disabilities Act

Has anyone ever had any dealings with EEOC and ADA?   I have filed a complaint against my former employer for failing to follow a reasonable accommodation request that was approved.  My boss just chose to ignore it-the result-MICU for 3 days, 30 days of medical leave and ended up leaving the job.  My boss wanted me gone so she harassed me without mercy in an effort to get rid of me-and i have all of the documentation to prove that.  I filed a harassment complaint against her as soon as I quit.  HR says they investigated but they won't tell me the outcome so I have a feeling they swept it under the rug.

The EEOC said I had to have left the job because of harassment, which I did and can prove it, and prove that my boss ignored the approved reasonable accommodation, which I can and that damage was done, which it was.

I didn't even know asthma fell under ADA until the work comp case worker told me that it wasn't a work comp case but it definitely was an EEOC issue.  The EEOC found enough evidence that they filed a charge against them and we have agreed to mediation to settle it.  That is set for this Tuesday.  I think I'm ready-over 700 e-mails date and time stamped showing that my boss expected me to be there and that sometimes it was as much as 14 hours a day for 2 weeks until I landed in the hospital.  I have the hospital records with all doctors stating that it was directly the result of exposure to excessive construction fumes and the denial of work comp to cover it, the letter from my old pulmo stating what would happen if I was exposed to the fumes for more than a 4 hours and the form she completed about my lungs and a follow up pulmonary function test showing the damage to my lungs.  I hope all of that is enough-

I'm super nervous-my old employer is a large health system in town and they play hard ball.  Everyone keep your fingers crossed and say some prayers for me that it goes well.  I'm not vindictive and I'm not trying to get rich or anything, but what they did was wrong.  They should pay my hospital bills, pay me back for vacation time I had to use and maybe a little more. 

I'm just ready for it to be over-I've been at my new job 6 months now and am ready to be done with the whole mess.  At least I won't have to be in the same room with them-the mediator will go between 2 rooms and I won't have to even see them. 

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  • Kathy P

    Hugs Pljohns. I don't have any experience, but I'm sure the situation must be stressful. AAFA has an article about ADA and disability – I don't know if there is anything new in there beyond what you already know.Good luck on Tuesday!

  • Serene

    I have plenty of experience with workmans comp which was pretty terrible but none with the other. Sorry.

  • Shea

    I am so glad you are fighting for justice because what they did to you was wrong. You seem very prepared with the items you have and you are stating your case well. I wish there was someone who could help fight it with you, like a lawyer, because it sounds stressful, but I am glad you are fighting for it and I think you have a good handle on it and can win it! Good luck, and let us know the outcome. 

  • K8sMom2002

    Best of luck! I think it speaks volumes that the EEOC filed a charge. It sounds as though you are well prepared and the only thing left is to settle your nerves! We're here for you!

    I've never been directly involved with an EEOC case, but as a former congressional aide, I can tell you that most cases don't get as far as yours has. So I'm very much encouraged for you.

    It stinks that your former employer was a major health care provider for the area — of all employers, you would hope health care would get it right.

    What are the possible outcomes? What are you hoping for?

  • Pljohns

    I think the worst outcome would be that we could fail to meet a settlement.  I would then have to decide if it was worth hiring an attorney and filing suite or not.  That's just not in my personality and I want this to be done.  

    I'm asking for 2 non-monetary things: a letter of reprimand in my old bosses personnel file for failing to follow the reasonable accommodation; she wrote me up and not one bit of it was true (and it's not bad apples saying that, I have documentation to prove it) so I want the ORIGINAL write up and a certified letter from her, my old big boss and the director of HR that there are no further copies of it anywhere within the system.  

    I am asking for some money for damages-DH almost lost his job because they refused to cover it under work comp.  His company is small and self employed. Even though it is illegal, the company owner has a policy that if he pays out more than $50,000 on your or someone on your policy during a calendar year, you are terminated as a full employee-they immediately hire you back as a contract employee but you have no benefits at all.   He means business-he did it to 3 employees this past year and because of the hospital bills, DH was within $3000 of it happening to him.  The last hospital bill/doctors bills were over $18,000.  I want them to pay me for that so I can repay DH's company.  He has been there 13 years and wants to stay there.  We are now on my insurance so that pressure is off of us.  

    I am also asking for reimbursement for vacation time I had to use before STD kicked in and the amount I had to use to make up for th 30%STD dosn't pay that I had to use vacation time for. Aside from that, I'm asking for a small amount for the crap they put me through-not much-WAY less than 6 figures, but they were wrong.  I ended up leaving a job I loved because of it, and couldn't do pulmonary rehab that my pulmonologist wanted me to because I knew how close we were on the insurance and DH's company.  

    I don't expect to get half of what I'm asking for-in both the monetary and non-monetary things, but I figured that was something to negotiate on.  The VP of HR from my old company was very strong that this wasn't their fault etc UNTIL I told her about the reasonable accommodation-she didn't even know one had been approved!  They have already paid my out of pocket expenses $1040, but that's all.  I'm not trying to get rich or anything but what they did was WRONG.

    I have proof that they have condoned this type of behavior long before now-I have documentation that my boss 2 bosses back harassed me over my asthma by making fun of me about it in front of a room full of other managers.  Nothing was ever done to him either.

    I will be very glad when Tues is all done and over and I can move on past this.  I was very surprised that EEOC found what they deemed enough to file the charge and obviously my former employer knows I have something or they would have never agreed to mediation.  They want this to go away and so do I.

  • K8sMom2002

    PLJohns, that stinks about your DH's company's policy, and even worse that your former boss made fun of your asthma. I'm hoping you have good luck with the mediation … the stress can't be good for you!

    I'm wondering now why workman's comp didn't cover your hospital stay? What was their reasoning? Just curious, but I thought any injury or illness that happened because of something at work was deemed workman's comp. (And what I know about workman's comp would fit in the tip of my pinkie fingernail, so I'd like to learn more.)

    I know that I've heard of some people being caught betwixt and between — their health insurance saying, "Nope, we're not covering it because it's work-related so workman's comp ought to cover it," and workman's comp saying, "Nope, the person can't prove that it was work-related, so it's health insurance's bill."

    I'm glad you were able to get treatment, and it seems fair that the money go back to pay the insurance company who footed the bill — is your DH's company self-insured?

    Sending you the absolute best for a speedy, peaceful settlement that takes care of everything!

  • Pljohns

    Yes-his company is self insurance. the CEO wasn't the brightest when he signed on with the biggest ins. carrier in the state-instead of paying them per capita for covered employees, his contract is that they pay a provider their allowable and then he pays them back the full amount billed to the carrier.  It has cost him a fortune and that's why he started firing people and then hiring them back as contractor labor-he doesn't have to give them any benefits.  It's illegal but no one has pushed it.

    WC denied the claim because they said anyone with asthma would react the same way if put in the situation with construction fumes, therefore it wasn't ONLY related to work issues-it could happen anywhere.I have all of the hospital records that show everyone from the admitting hospitalist on down documented that I was there as a result of over exposure to construction fumes from the new clinic.  when I tried to appeal WC, they sent me to the ombudsman for the state and that's who told me it was an EEOC matter and seemed to be a clear violation to her.  She said it looked like the EEOC violation and the WC over lapped as it most certainly should have been covered under WC.  I'm just glad my insurance covered it-that hospital bill alone was over $18,000.  I didn't do pulmonary rehab like my doc wanted me to because I knew I was pushing close to the cap for DH to keep his job.

    On a good note, I found my old pulmonologist! She is now teaching sleep medicine at the med school in town.  I sent her e-mail and ask who she would recommend that was NOT in her former practice-i've seen them all and didn't get on with any of them-some had the personalities of a 2×4 and some were just too "soft" with me-if you tell me to go back to work when I feel like it, i'm going back the next day.  I need a FIRM doc that will tell me when I'm doing what.  I hope she answers it!  She and I got along beautifully and she lives in the same burb I do-her son is graduating high school with ours next month.

    I'm super nervous about tomorrow-I spent a good bit of time going over everything I have and scaling back what I take in and then putting a good offer on paper.  At least it will be a starting point for the negiotiations so we'll see what happens.  By this time tomorrow, it will all be over.

  • K8sMom2002

    I'm so glad you found your old pulmonologist … any chance she still sees patients on the side? 

    And fingers crossed that it will all be a moot point and they will agree to your first offer right away. I know you want this to be over, over, over, OVER.

  • Shea

    I think it is unacceptable how they would not make reasonable accomadations, how they are in habit of firing people and rehiring them as contracted employees, and how they made you uncomfortable at work by unprofessionally speaking about your health (making jokes,etc) to other employees. You tried to fix things and took initiative when you were there by letting them know about your health and finding reasonable accomodations–everything you were supposed to do– and they mishandled that infirmation and used it against you to try to save them money. There is a cost associated with their behaviors that you had to pay emotionally, physically, and monetarily. And they need to pay you back.

  • Pljohns

    I would LOVE it if she still saw patients on the side but i doubt it.  You would think at a major med school dept of pulmonology there would be more than just 1 doc that specializes is asthma (and it's not my old doc)!  I sent her e-mail and ask for a recommendation for a pulmonologist.  She knows I need one with a firm hand-

    thanks and yes I do-I'm ready to be done with it all

  • Pljohns

    thanks Shea-it helps to hear someone say that. I must admit, I tend to waffle thinking I should just keep my mouth shut and move on but I know what they did was WRONG.  the health system I worked for is owned by the largest non-profit one in the country and the parent company is the one that approved the reasonable accommodation and then sent it back down to the local one.  I just hope I have enough that they don't fight too hard.  Intimidation is a tough thing and on this point, I'm easily intimidated.

  • Pljohns

    what a difference a company makes-I'll be moving into a new clinic of my own in about a month-same construction fume issues as my old employer BUT you know what my new one said-do whatever you have to do to make sure you don't land in the hospital-if you need to work there part days, let my boss know and they will send me to another clinic part days so I get paid full checks, but don't have to be in there a full day.  I told them I had a super air purifier that I would bring and they said fine, but if I had ANY problems to let them know and we'd work around it until the fumes were gone.  Talk about a different attitude

  • Pljohns

    I am just getting to work from a 3 hour mediation session but it's done and it was a victory for people with asthma.  Legally I can't disclose the terms but I'm very happy with the outcome and there will be changes with that employer so no one ever has to go through what I did AND they have to send me proof that the terms and changes have been satisfied.  I am THRILLED to put it mildly.  I feel like a HUGE weight has been lifted and finally someone had to see what they did.  I feel like I can finally move on with my life.  I definitely learned the importance of standing up when something isn't right-even if it gets you in trouble at the time but I now fully understand that I have to be willing not to try and hide my asthma-and that is a huge step for me to try and accomplish given the responses I've had from family/employers but it's a step that I now understand I have to take.

    Thank you ALL for your support and prayers.  I am so glad I found this board-you all are AMAZING people who understand what it's like to live like we do.

  • K8sMom2002

    Oh, my goodness! I'm doing the Snoopy Happy Dance for you right now!

    Way. To. GO!!!! You have given me encouragement as well — yippee!

  • Shea

    Awesome!!! I feel a weight lifted off ME just watching from the outside ☺! It really is a win for us all when a person like you puts in the effort and takes a stance with an employer. It sounds like they really learned some things, real changes are being made, and it gave you awareness in not hiding your asthma, and the best is that feeling of being able to move on! So happy for you!

  • Jen

    Have you heard from your former coworkers about whether or not the changes have been implemented?

  • Pljohns

    Not as of yet-I'm giving them until next week and if I haven't gotten the letter that they have implemented it, I'm sending an e-mail asking why-

  • Pljohns

    Just as I figured, no one has had any training-I'm giving them until July 1-that would be almost 3 months-and then I'll send them e-mail yet again.  If I get nothing, I'll get back with EEOC.

  • Pljohns

    Just got e-mail from one of my friends at old employer and they have training scheduled in July for the new stuff.

  • K8sMom2002

    That's great! Hopefully this will help current employees not have to go through what you did — do you know what all they will be covering during the training?