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Legalease
Legalease, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
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Experience:  13 years experience in employment law, unions, contracts, workers comp law
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I have a question about where I have worked for the past 11

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I have a question about where I have worked for the past 11 years. I work for the State of Utah. I have worked there part time for those 11 years. In the year 2000 I went to my main boss and told him about a medical condition I had outside of work a seizure. Also at that time I told him of that I had a seizure disorder. As time passed by nothing changed then in September of 2004 I had a seizure on company property. I was in the control room of the facility. All the doors were unable to be opened. They had to call a manitence man from a small town five miles away to come and open all the doors. As a result from the seizure my kidneys stopped working and I spent the next five days in the hospital getting them restarted. When I asked if I could return to work I was asked by my two main bosses that I could come back if would never have a seizure again. I was banned from working the the control room. Also I found out as I returned and time passed that there was supposed to have been a master key policy in place in all units Control, Shelter, O&A and Detention. No one had implemented the policy like they should have. After my medical incident they wrote up a letter stating that an employee had a seizure and that it was the reason why they were implmenting the key policy. In 2007 I went to Federal Court and a judge was looking at tax returns and stated that in 2000 to 2001 I had worked for the State of Utah full time however I had been kept at part time and never given any type of benefits. I have applied and applied with this company for the past ten years trying to get an oppourtunity to work it's discouraging when you find out that in the interviews you placed 2nd and they chose someone who placed 16th.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Legalease replied 1 year ago.

Hello there

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You mentioned that you were in Federal Court in 2007 -- can you tell me why you were in Federal court -- what was the case about and what was the final outcome on the case?

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Can you also tell me when the last time was that you were denied a promotion ?

What year?

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MARY

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

In 2007 I went on Social Security Disability I had to go Court to win my case. The Judge wanted to review all tax returns from my current job. In the first year I worked for them I made $12,000 the next year 2000-2001 I made nearly $17,000. The judge in my Social security Disability case ruled by the wage I was getting paid the amount I made I worked more than full time. That I was due paid time off a 401K and health insurance and that by the State of Utah not doing so they had broken Federal law. I Had just been kept at part time employment. As he asked questions about my other tax returns I'm sorry I don't have them $4000 to $5000.00 and then to $6000.00. After my seizure at work a lot of hours dried up they still called me in only enough not to get sued. The final outcome of the case was fully favorable to me. The last time I went in for an interview I believe was 2011 in 2012 I withdrew my application because I could not face them any longer and get those letter of denial.

Expert:  Legalease replied 1 year ago.

Hello again Timothy --

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Thank you for the additional information -- it clarifies things a bit for me. It certainly does sound to me like you have been the victim of disability discrimination at your workplaceat least from the time that you had the major seizure in the locked down room and possibly further back to the date of informing your supervisor of your medical condition. First, regarding the time period between when you first told your supervisor of your condition and when you had the major seizure, you were working what amounted to full time hours but you were receiving no benefits from your employer during that time period --- and while the comment made by the Social Security Judge is interesting and spoke volumes about what was probably going on at your workplace, it is still not enough for me to definitively say "Yes, you absolutely have a claim based upon the fact that you were denied full time benefits while working full time hours" -- only because there are many employers in both the public and the private sectors who do this every day to their employees in order to keep their costs down. In fact, 90% of retailers such as WalMart and supermarket chains have their workers classified as "part time" but those people are in fact working 35-60 hours per week -- and these employers are able to get away with it by scheduling the "part timer" to 25 hours a week on the written schedule and then calling them in for extra hours every day and on days off to the point where it ends up being an average of more than 40 hours a week and is full time. This is not illegal and while it is used more in the private sector, I am seeing it being used more and more by public employers in order to keep costs down and budgets balanced (Wisconsin recently classified a group of police, teachers and firefighter as "part time" employees in order to deny them pension benefits). So, on that point alone, unless I had some more proof that your disability is the reason why they denied you the full time benefits when you were working full time hours (we cannot even be certain that this particular supervisor made a notation in the employee records or if anyone beyond him knew about the medical disability), I could not say that it was the underlying reason why you were denied the full time benefits between the time that you told your supervisor about your medical condition through the time period when you had the major seizure happen to you at work. It is definitely an argument that should be made for that time period when bringing a discrimination claim against your employer -- but I think you will need some proof that the supervisor noted the disability in your records and/or the supervisor let other managers, supervisors and even co workers know of your condition prior to the date you had the major seizure at work.

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Now, once you had the major seizure at work, the management and everyone else who worked with you became aware of your condition and that seizure incident and the fact that you have been passed over for promotion every time you have tried for promotion after the seizure (and less qualified candidates have received the positions) is very telling and is prima facia evidence of employment discrimination against you due to your disability and my strong suggestion here is that you file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). Now, the EEOC is the US federal government's watchdog agency to prevent and investigate discrimination under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act -- which protects against workplace discrimination for persons with disabilities, and also against discrimination due to race, gender, age (over 40), national origin, religion or sexual orientation.

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The EEOC does not have offices in Utah and if you want to use them directly, you have to contact the Phoenix, AZ offices to file a complaint with them against your employer. The EEOC encourages people with discrimination complaints to use the Utah Labor Commission which serves the same function in Utah and enforces the US governments Civil Rights Act and other federal discrimination laws against employers in Utah. The only issue I see with you using the Utah Labor Commission is that because your employer is an agency of the State of Utah, there may be some bias in favor of your employer by the Utah Labor Commission, so you may be better off simply trying to file the complaint against your employer with the EEOC offices through their offices in Phoenix, AZ. In any event, I am providing links to both the EEOC Phoenix AZ offices and the Utah Labor Commission and you can speak to investigators at each agency to determine what is the best course of action for your case (my suggestion is to file the case / complaint with the EEOC offices in AZ if you are permitted to do that). Here is a link to the Utah Labor Commission: http://laborcommission.utah.gov/divisions/AntidiscriminationAndLabor/employment_discrimination.html

And here is the information on contact for the Phoenix AZ EEOC offices:

http://www.eeocoffice.com/utah-eeoc-offices You can link through to a complaint form for the EEOC through this webpage.

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Once the complaint is received they are obligated to investigate it -- the EEOC actually questions persons in your workplace and gets all records and then makes a decision based upon what they have learned and determined (and this is the point where you can get more information regarding the time period between when you first told your supervisor of your medical condition and when you actually had the seizure to determine if the supervisor made your disability common knowledge to the superiors and if you were denied the benefits because of that reason (when you originally made the initial reporting your disability to the supervisor) -- if the decision is favorable to you then you could be awarded back pay and benefits Without having to go to the expense and time of using a lawyer. However, once you do get involved with the complaint process you may want to have a lawyer handy in case they try to hassle you or terminate you (which is illegal). You can find a local employment lawyer by contacting your local county bar association and asking for a few referrals to lawyers in your county/area who handle employment law discrimination cases -- many of them will typically assist for little or no money up front and when you win your discrimination complaint through the EEOC, the lawyer will get a small percentage of the backpay awards.

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Please let me know if you have further questions. If not, can you please press a positive rating below so I will be paid for my time? Even if you press a positive rating below you can still ask additional follow up questions related to the first question for several weeks following this Q & A posting and pressing the positive rating -- the question will not close until you request it.

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MARY

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Please press the 3rd, 4th or 5th smile face below so I will be paid for my time. I am paid NOTHING unless you press a positive rating below. Pressing the 3rd, 4th or 5th smile face below will NOT cost you any money -- it simply acts as a trigger to Just Answer to pay me for my time. THANK YOU VERY MUCH -

Legalease, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 14619
Experience: 13 years experience in employment law, unions, contracts, workers comp law
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