I need your help. I was granted short term disability leave per my doctor on Jan 2, 1012. My leave, after 12 weeks, was extended another few months. Directly after my 12 weeks went by, I was told I was part of a larger layoff in the company. My last day was May 28th. They extended my STD to June 30. I was then told I would have to apply for Long Term Disability. In the mean time, the insurance company's doctor offered another 3 month extension for short term leave, with the understanding and agreement from my doctor that I would be 'counseled' for re-entry into the work force. It appears the insurance company is trying to buy me out. They would have to contribute (along with the State of Calif) for my Long Term Leave. They seem to object to the reasoning from my doctor to grant my long term leave. Questions:1) was it legal for the company to lay me off. It occurred within 'days' of my 12-week protected period expiring.2) will giving me another three months of short term leave absolve them of the obligation to grant me long term leave?3) Is short term leave just handled by my insurance company (Liberty Mutual) and my company?4) When does the State enter in? During Long Term disability time frame?5) what do you suggest I do? Please answer today....thanks!
State/Country relating to question: California
nothing so far. But they asked for an answer today.
Hello and welcome,I am sorry to hear of your difficult situation and am working on your answer now.
thank you so much. My current doctor doesn't even agree necessarily that I may be able to return to work, depending on how well I recover. The doctor at Liberty Mutual claims my work environment may be the cause of my 'leave'. I have severe depression and it was made worse my work environment and I had to be on Xanax just to function. I went on leave at the urging of my doctor. Would you like me to copy/paste the key parts of the letter from Liberty Mutual?
Hello again,It is not necessary to past the letter from the insurer at this point. I am working on your answer now. Thank you.
1) was it legal for the company to lay me off. It occurred within 'days' of my 12-week protected period expiring.ANSWER: It is legal to terminate an employee following FMLA leave only if the employer can show that the employee would have been laid off even if they had not taken leave typically. So the burden would be on the employer to prove that the layoff would have occurred regardless of the leave.2) will giving me another three months of short term leave absolve them of the obligation to grant me long term leave?ANSWER: If they are not required to provide additional STD leave benefits under the policy language, they could offer to pay 3 more months in return for a release of claims against them. If you waive your right to pursue LTD in return for the offer, that would prevent you from seeking any LTD benefits typically.3) Is short term leave just handled by my insurance company (Liberty Mutual) and my company?ANSWER: CA does have state sponsored disability administered through the EDD. Here is a link to their site:http://www.edd.ca.gov/disability/What you appear to be referring to is a private employer-sponsored plan which would be governed by the policy language and not a state agency.4) When does the State enter in? During Long Term disability time frame?ANSWER: The state benefits may begin from day one for up to one year but you must apply for them. The private policy would typically be reduced by the amount of state benefits you receive.5) what do you suggest I do?ANSWER: I would take the offer to a local employment law attorney to review and consult further about the potential for pursuing a legal claim against the employer for retaliation for taking FMLA leave. If you do not wish to pursue legal action against the employer/insurer, then you may wish to accept the "offer".
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Thank you and all the best to you,
JD, 15 years experience & recognized for excellence.
Hi Tina,sorry for the delay. I have a follow on question. Is it legal for this insurance company to offer 3 more months of STD in lieu of giving up my long term disability (which they said has a two-year limit). Can I counter offer with something like 4-6 months of STD?
It is legal for you and the insurer to agree to this typically, yes. You are also free to reject their offer or make a counter-offer that you believe is fair, such as 6 months.
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