Good morning Rocky,
The employee's handbook of the company that I work for states"an employee absent from work for up to 12 months on an approved Work Comp. leave will have the employee portion of their medical and dental premiums paid such company." By laying the employee off they were also able to discontinue their health insurance and now the employee has to pay for Cobra ins. or have none.
So, can they get by with this when their own handbook states such?
Well, this as an entirely different question, and issue, altogether.
The policy seems to suggest that an employee out on approved workers compensation leave must have their employer paid benefits continued and paid off by the company. This would be contrary to them terminating your coverage, even if they did lay you off---at least for the period of one year.
If there was not a legitimate basis for laying you off---such as the determination of past misconduct that came to light after the injury---and would give them the right to terminate you---then arguably, you have a claim for their violation of their own policy.
Under Idaho law, an employer and employee are considered to be in quasi-contract as to the benefits promised in the company's employee/policy handbook. Based upon that law and your rights, you might want to consider speaking with a local employment law attorney about filing a claim against your employer for violating the policy rights that you are afforded under the law.
Alternatively, you may sue them directly in small claim court---but you will be limited to $5,000 there---which may not cover your losses. Additionally, a local workers' compensation attorney should be able to assist you as well, if you are still disabled from employment.
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I wish you the best in 2013,