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Firing due to medical treatment

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A Friend of ours, Harley... was recently terminated because he had gone past the aloud time off for medical treatment, 12 weeks, plus another 12 week extension. He is currently receiving Chemo-therapy, and is terminal, unless the chemo works... Tyco recently bought out the company he works for, and Tyco said they would honor the company, Products, meaning they will fire him for not showing up to work. Starting tommorow, he will have no insurance to pay for his medical care, or for his son who lives w/ him. Attempts were made weeks and weeks ago to Products to see what they would be doing w/ his case (fire him or what). Instead phone calls weren't returned, and even persons w/ power of attorney representing Harley were advised lower management of Products that it was "none of their business what happened". The man was too sick to even eat FOOD, drink water.. even ICE CREAM Burnts his throat. but company didn't care, and a week ago they advised him that he would be terminated unless he showed up for work tommorow (he's still incapacitated due to the treatment). Can an employer fire someone who's terminally ill and can't go to work? The mans too sick to try fighting this, but now he has no $$$, and will end up leaving debt to his 17 yr old son, who just had a kid.


I'm a Northern Girl
I'm sorry, but it appears that the company has already gone well beyond what they are required to do by law. FMLA is required for 12 weeks only. Under the ADA, a SHORT extension of that leave can be required IF the extension will allow the employee to return to work. But neither the FMLA nor the ADA requires an employer to continue paying an employee indefinitely if the employee is unable to work.

It's a harsh fact of reality, but an employer can only be expected to keep someone on the payroll for so long, when that person is unable to work. How long would you suggest that an employer have to pay one person because they're ill, plus another person to do the work?

If he is so ill that he cannot work, has he applied for any disability plans? SSDI?

If the company has more than 20 employees, they will be required by law to allow him to elect COBRA, which would mean he would at least have insurance coverage. However, COBRA is not free and it is not cheap.


I'm a Northern Girl
The law gives them a certain amount of time to send him information about the COBRA. If he was only termed today, they are not even close to being out of compliance yet. If they self administer their COBRA, they have 14 days from the last day of coverage to send it. If they use a third party administrator (which is much more likely with a large company) they have a total of 44 days. 30 days to notify the administrator, and then the administrator has 14 days.

I have heard from a usually reliable source, but have not yet been able to independently confirm it, that a recent court ruling has given all employers, regardless of their administration, the full 44 days.

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