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jaccorps_esq, Lawyer.
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 19313
Experience:  Attorney with prior California employment law issues.
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Due to my experience so far with my currently assigned HR

Customer Question

Hello, due to my experience so far with my currently assigned HR contacts, I contacted the VP of HR to ask to be assigned to new HR contacts. He wants to talk with me on the phone and we have a call scheduled for tomorrow at noon. Is there anything I shouldn't
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  jaccorps_esq replied 1 year ago.

That depends on the nature of your underlying complaints here. Let me ask some questions first.

Do you have an employment contract stating that you can only be terminated for cause, or is this a state or union employer?

Are your underlying concerns related to discrimination due to your race, religion, gender, age, disability or recent medical leave use? If not, was is the underlying basis?

Expert:  jaccorps_esq replied 1 year ago.

Ok. I'm not sure why you have not responded to my request for additional information. I asked these questions because they are legally significant to understanding your employment status, which in term, dictates your particular protections. Without the information, I have to speak in generalities and I'm then forced to give a less precise response.

Generally speaking, speaking with HR is not a actually a protected activity. Unlike most are led to believe, HR is actually just an arm of the employer whose primary goal is protecting the company. There is no real anonymity or confidentiality in your comments to HR. So, in an employment situation where you are an "at will" employee and your complaints relate to just workplace issues that would amount to office politics, there is literally no protection at all. You have to be exceedingly careful with what you say, because it can easily backfire on you and form the basis for a termination.

Now, if you are in a contract situation or union, then you are a bit more protected because you can only be terminated for cause, in accordance with the contract. Then you just have to avoid comments that amount to insubordination (just stay professional).

Finally, if you are complaining about discrimination (race, religion, gender, age, disability or recent medical leave use), OSHA matters or wage and hour issues, you have protections from external statutes and again, you just have to remain professional in your comments.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
It's a non-governmental company. No union. In California. At will employment. I'm still an employee (11yrs) as an engineer. They denied my work from home work accommodation on Labor Day (company holiday) at 8pm via text and demanded I work from the office starting in the morning. My team has always been allowed to work from home as needed. That day, 3 other engineers on my team worked from home without a doctor note. I felt it was discrimination of my disability to demand I work in the office which was beyond my physical limitations .In fear of being fired for insubordination, I endured the traffic for 1hr 15 mins and attempted to sit at a non ergonomic desk until the pain was so bad I had to return home. I have been physically unable to work since then (Sept. 8) because their demands for me to work from the office aggravated the back injury I sustained in 06/2014 when I was rear ended while stopped at a red light. My car was totaled and pushed me into the car in front of me which was also stopped at the light. I have been under the care of a orthopedic surgeon since the accident. I returned to work after the accident on 9/8/14 with a work from home accommodation which was approved. I have been working from home for the past year and healing well. On 8/17/15, I had a follow up appt and provided my employer with a note from the doctor with the restriction to continue work from home. A couple of weeks later I received an email from HR telling me the faxed my doctor's office documentation for additional information on why I needed to work from home. HR told me the documentation had to have a response in 4 business days or my work accommodation would be denied. I notified my doctor's office that my employer faxed over documentation that had to be faxed back within 4 business days. My doctor's secretary told me that the orthopedic surgeon was not expected to be in the office by that deadline but she would try to see if his assistant could fill out the document and fax it back so that the deadline wouldn't be missed. Then they denied the existing accommodation because they said the movements listed were not part of my job requirements. I asked for a copy of the documentation that they based the denial on. A month later, they sent me an email with the attachment which showed 3 pages. I asked my doctor's office for a copy of the document they filled out, it was 4 pages. The 4th page, listed all of the movements identified as the physical requirements of my job. I also requested a copy of all of my employee files. They sent me some of my employee files. I know what they sent is not complete because it was mainly my new hire info from 2004 and copies of my reviews. But missing the important stuff. This is why I asked the HR VP to assign me to new contacts. sorry, I can't afford the phone convo now. I haven't been paid in over a month.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The orthopedic surgeon put me on TTD because I was in so much pain. He prescribed Norco and had me go the a chiropractor. I think the chiropractic treatments are helping but I can only walk for 15-25 mins at a time without pain. I can only sit up for 1-2 hrs at a time without pain. About 3 weeks ago I had to go to ER because the pain was not responding to the Norco and I could not take it anymore. (I hate going to ER because you are there for hours waiting... (but that is just how bad the pain was) I received a notice that if I didn't pay $1300 by 10/21/15 my medical coverage would be cancelled as of 09/12/2015. I sent the VP an email telling him that since I haven't been paid and cannot physically work I cannot afford to pay that much with such a short deadline... I received that notice a few days before 10/21/15. i told him I need my medical coverage to heal so that I can return to work... now he wants to talk to me on the phone....
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
TTD began 09/10/2015.... I have a follow up appt with the orthopedic surgeon this thursday.
Expert:  jaccorps_esq replied 1 year ago.

Ok. This was incorrectly posted in regular employment law and you did not post your state in initial question.

California has its own category and I will now post it there. It may take a second for a California attorney to respond, so just wait please.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
ok, can they still see the question or do I have to write it again?
Expert:  jaccorps_esq replied 1 year ago.

They will be able to see it once it is moved.