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  1. #1
    gambsy is offline Junior Member
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    Fired while on FMLA

    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? Washington State

    The story:
    I was fired from my FMLA eligible job while on FMLA in December 2011. My employer claims that I was supposed to call in everyday that I was on continuous leave until my leave was approved by MET Life, the company they hired to process FMLA paperwork. This requirement was not disclosed to me. I attempted to speak with HR, but they never called me back after receiving my initial complaint. So, I filed for unemployment after the last day that my FMLA leave was in effect and my employer had reported me as having abandoned my job. I fought and provided proof of following all state requirements and company requirements that I was told to by my direct supervisor. Eventually the case was brought up before an administrative law judge, and she ruled in my favor stating that pursuant to RCW 50.20.066(1) that I was not disqualified from unemployment benefits. They appealed with the commissioner's review office and lost. Currently, all courses of action for further appeal have passed their deadlines. Since I had to fight for so long to get my unemployment benefits I was unable to pay for COBRA benefits, so I have lost my health insurance completely and now have a gap in coverage.

    So, I am filing a lawsuit against my former employer for violating the FMLA. I am currently working with a lawyer who is working with me as a favor. He's not very familiar with this sort of law and, honestly does not seem very interested in my case. So, I'm trying to do some research on my own behalf so that I can make sure I'm following the best course in the case.

    I understand that I am only able to sue for actual damages, and my current lawyer thinks I can easily get a years salary. But I'm more concerned with the medical benefits. How is a monetary value added to medical benefits? Is there a monetary value? Is there a possibility of my medical benefits being reinstated if I win in court?

    Another thought I had was, if I win the FMLA violation case, can I turn around and sue them for wrongful termination since that would clearly be the case? If so, could I not then ask for punitive damages?

    And finally can my out of pocket medical expenses be added to the actual damages? I am still being treated for the medical condition that I was on FMLA for, I'm well enough now that I could have returned to work when my medical leave was over.


    Any help and advice would be very much appreciated.

    *REMOVED unimportant information*
    Last edited by gambsy; 08-30-2012 at 12:47 AM. Reason: clarity
  2. #2
    OHRoadwarrior is offline Senior Member
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    Did you apply for or receive government funded health care coverage during the time your company health care lapsed?
  3. #3
    Zigner is offline Senior Member
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    FMLA protections last for 12 weeks. Were you out more than 12 weeks at the time you were let go?
  4. #4
    gambsy is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by OHRoadwarrior View Post
    Did you apply for or receive government funded health care coverage during the time your company health care lapsed?
    If by government funded health care you mean COBRA, yes. However, I had NO income while I was fighting for my unemployment benefits and they would not extend the deadlines. You only have 60 days to apply for COBRA, again which I did, but it took me from the middle of Jan until the end of April to get a hearing. At which time my eligibility for COBRA had passed.
  5. #5
    gambsy is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zigner View Post
    FMLA protections last for 12 weeks. Were you out more than 12 weeks at the time you were let go?
    No, I only needed 2 1/2 weeks. Before this leave I had not used any FMLA leave.
  6. #6
    sandyclaus is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by gambsy View Post
    If by government funded health care you mean COBRA, yes. However, I had NO income while I was fighting for my unemployment benefits and they would not extend the deadlines. You only have 60 days to apply for COBRA, again which I did, but it took me from the middle of Jan until the end of April to get a hearing. At which time my eligibility for COBRA had passed.
    COBRA is not government funded health care. COBRA is the extension of existing health care provided by your own employer at the time of termination. Government-funded means Medicare or something that the GOVERNMENT pays for and not you.
  7. #7
    You Are Guilty is offline Senior Member
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    To answer your original question, yes, "lost" medical benefits are quantifiable. However, the bad news is that you will almost certainly need an expert economist to make those calculations.

    (The good news, as it were, is that those types of reports are some of the cheapest expert reports one can get.)
    Quote Originally Posted by Tranquility
    Once you get to crazy land, it is only a guess on how to get out.
  8. #8
    Antigone* is offline Senior Member
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    The OP is doing himself/herself a huge disservice by retaining an attorney who does not specialize or is familiar with ultimate objective. I'm jes sayin...
  9. #9
    gambsy is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by sandyclaus View Post
    COBRA is not government funded health care. COBRA is the extension of existing health care provided by your own employer at the time of termination. Government-funded means Medicare or something that the GOVERNMENT pays for and not you.
    Ahhh! In that case, no. I am/was not eligible for any government health care programs. At least I haven't been able to find any. I did apply for health care through DSHS AFTER my medical benefits lapsed, but I was denied.
  10. #10
    gambsy is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Antigone* View Post
    The OP is doing himself/herself a huge disservice by retaining an attorney who does not specialize or is familiar with ultimate objective. I'm jes sayin...
    This IS def a problem. But, I'm having problems finding someone with the appropriate knowledge willing to take the case. However, I haven't officially signed the representation paperwork yet. I'll keep looking.
  11. #11
    gambsy is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by You Are Guilty View Post
    To answer your original question, yes, "lost" medical benefits are quantifiable. However, the bad news is that you will almost certainly need an expert economist to make those calculations.

    (The good news, as it were, is that those types of reports are some of the cheapest expert reports one can get.)
    Thank you!
  12. #12
    ecmst12 is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by gambsy View Post
    If they had let me leave for the blood draw (had a doctors note saying I needed to be there, too!!) I would have never had to go on medical leave, would have never had surgery, and would probably still be working there.
    You can't say that with any sort of certainty. Ectopic pregnancy is not something that can be definitively diagnosed with blood work and even ultrasound can't always detect it before it's too late to avoid surgery.
  13. #13
    gambsy is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by ecmst12 View Post
    You can't say that with any sort of certainty. Ectopic pregnancy is not something that can be definitively diagnosed with blood work and even ultrasound can't always detect it before it's too late to avoid surgery.
    Right, hence why I am not doing anything about that particular issue. My second leave may have been related to the ectopic pregnancy, but it is not the grievance I'm trying to take legal action against. I was simply trying to give some more background. Perhaps I should have stated, "who knows, that blood test COULD have helped the doctors detect the ectopic pregnancy." Sorry, I'm not really sure why you brought this particular piece of my post up? Perhaps I wasn't clear that they were two separate issues?
  14. #14
    ecmst12 is offline Senior Member
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    The other issues in your post had been pretty well addressed by the other posters.
  15. #15
    gambsy is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by ecmst12 View Post
    The other issues in your post had been pretty well addressed by the other posters.
    I removed the information, as it does not effect the case I had questions about. Thank you for your input.

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