I had helped an employee make a sexual harassment claim at my employer. Turns out the director she reported the harassment to turned around and terminated her. She filed claim with the EEOC
, got her right to sue, then eventually settled before the case even went to discovery.
Some time later I was also the victim; I was not reinstated to a higher position when such position was reinstated, even though I had documented excellent performance previously. When I asked why, they told me the job was "upgraded" , even though the new job description
had less qualifications (and was left at the same pay grade) than when I held it. Subsequent to that, I was terminated for violating some obscure secondary employment policy that no one heard of, nor was it published in the employee handbook
Approximately 45 days after my termination
, I called the HR dept asking for the whereabouts of my COBRA election letter. I was told by the HR representative that I would not be offered COBRA, that I was fired for gross misconduct. I called the Dept of Labor
to report the issue, and the DOL immediately contacted the employer for an explanation.. My ex-employer told DOL that I was not denied COBRA, and produced to them a letter allegedly sent by the third party administrator to me. The letter sent to the DOl did not even include a premium amount. While the DOL did not dispute
my story, they said it was my word against the employer and suggest I get an attorney, which i did.I also asked the third party administrator for a copy of the COBRA letter; they never produced one; nor was their any entry onto my online account that a COBRA letter had gone out to me due to a qualifying event; in instances with COBRA election, it can easily be proven that a notation to the employees on-line account is made when the letter is mailed.
So there are 3 issues of retaliation
; first, the denial to give me my previous job back, even thought an email went out claiming it was a reinstatement of my previous position; my termination, under the auspices of violating some obscure secondary employment policy, and the COBRA . Specific to COBRA, if they did deny me, aren't they obligated to send me a letter notifying me of the appeal process? When I asked the HR rep what my options were, she basically said to take it up with the person who fired me as it was his decision; nothing about any appeal process. If they didn't deny me, why wouldn't they have just sent the election letter when I called? It was still within the time frame for me to accept coverage.I have documentation of the day I called, I also have documented that i went to the marketplace and got my own insurance; which really hurt as I had met my annual deductible for the year and had to start over with a new deductible, relegating all my claims as out of pocket with the new policy.. Would an employer of 17,000 people really lie to the DOL ?
Also, they also discovered another employee was working with the same company. This was discovered a month after my termination. After much internal discussion, it was determined she would be demoted from her manager's [position effective immediately; but they paid her for 45 days , lined her up with an internal recruiter to help her find another position, and also allowed her COBRA coverage.
My question is basically this, as an employment specialist, do you find my case a compelling one? If in fact they didn't deny me coverage, why did their representative tell me it was when she looked into my electronic file? Isnt the fact they treated the other person terminated so differently than me strengthen my case? Also , they told her that "they really didn't want to terminate her" So they came up with the demotion compromise with their legal team. Doesn't that also show some type of discrimination
The employer is a 13 hospital private not for profit in Florida...