My wife will be 64 on July 29th and after 23 years as a Medical Billing Supervisor she was advised by the Medical Practice that they were putting her on Administrative Leave (her own vacation leave) pending a neurological exam, citing that they concerns for her memory and lacked cognitive thinking; when asked for specifics they did not explain; meanwhile, before the tests were concluded they permanently replaced her with first a 38 year old and then 2 weeks later with a 55 year old; she passed the tests and was declared normal, but her old job was no longer available to her and she was told she could not return in a managerial position; she asked to be layed-off and they denied her that stating that the practice already pays too much in Unemployment Insurance; they, first, tried to retire her and, then, declared her as resigned when she protested; she is now protesting the forced resignation....do you believe a case can be made for discrimination or unlawful labor practices? For 23 years she received superior work performance appraisals and performance bonuses; at no point has her superiors indicated any concern about her work performance, the 38 year old replacing her was her bosses' daughter; they hired a Consultant to study how to improve office efficiency while she still occupied her position and 2 weeks after she was placed on Leave they hired the Consultant to take her place.....when she was informed by the Neurologist she was normal she asked for her old job back and was denied, she was told that a Managerial position was no longer available to her....she's had 3 meetings with her superiors and, to date, she still does not know the specifics leading up to her dismissal; they refuse to lay her off or fire her, knowing if they did, she would file for unemployment benefits; they are trying to force her to either retire or resign; at one point they agreed to a lay-off but they rescinded it....from a layman's viewpoint, I am sensing that there are some discrimination aspects to her situation and I find it highly irregular and maybe even unlawful for an employer to require a neurological exam for continued employment; I believe they were fishing for medical conditions associated with elderly people, and as it turned out they had no intention of giving her job back since they didn't wait for the results of the test....I am estimating that she will have lost between $200,000 to $300,000 alone in lost wages by their actions by her not waiting until she was 66 years old when she would be eligible for full Social Security benefits....please advise and give me your opinion on whether it would be productive to pursue legal recourse given these circumstance or would we be wasting our time?? I thank you in advance for your thoughts regarding this situation.
State/Country relating to question: Maryland
3 meetings with her bosses and a series of back and forth emails, specifically requesting to be layed-off in order to collect unemployment
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I am sorry to hear about your wife's mistreatment. Eventhough they replaced the 38-year old who replaced her with a 55-year old, I still see age discrimination here. Because of her age, she was ordered to undergo medical testing in order to keep her job. However, before the result of the test was even known, they permanently replaced her. This means that they were looking for a legitimate excuse to replace her. When the test did not turn out the way that they expected, they are now trying to force her into an early retirement. She should not fall for their scheme.
They should fire her or lay her off if they no longer want her work there. They cannot force her to resign and then expect her not to file for Unemployment Benefits. Actually, forced resignation would be the same thing in this instance as firing her or laying her off. So, they have boxed themselves into a corner by ordering a medical test that they expected to show that she was losing her abilities to work because of her age. Instead of getting the result that confirmed their expectations, they got a different one.
Your wife should hold their feet to the fire and make them fire her so that she can go and collect unemployment benefits. This means that she should go about doing whatever job they want to do until they tell her to leave. They should not get away easily from their ill conceived plan to get rid off because of her age, which backfired big time on them.
In the meantime, she should file for age discrimination with U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") if her employer is a covered employer. A covered employer for age discrimination is an employer with 20 or more employees. Click on the link below for more information on EEOC's complaint process:
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