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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 118128
Experience:  20+ Years of Employment Law Experience
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My wife was involved in a car accident while on the job (not

Customer Question

My wife was involved in a car accident while on the job (not at fault)(car totaled) on 16 DEC 08, delivering toys to children for Christmas. She sustained injuries to her neck, back & knee. She worked for TX Dept. of Child & Family Services. She was out
of work and under doctor care for 9-10 months. She was terminated in Sep 09 by a supervisor she never worked for or met. You see, according to paperwork produced by the EEOC office this supervisor was assigned to her on 8 DEC 08. This supervisor first contacted
my wife at home the beginning of Feb 09 wanting to know not how she was feeling, but when she would be returning to work. She would call once or twice a month until around April my wife told her she could call her doctor via phone or internet for any info
on her progress. Around the end of Jul 09, threats of firing her if she didn't return to work. She has not been released from doctors care. In Sep 09, they sent a recommend termination letter saying they are having a meeting to hear my wife answer to their
letter to come back immediately, quit, or be terminated. At that meeting she told them she was still not released from her doctor to work because she was not 100% recovered. She informed them she would beg the doctor to release her to come back on light duty
for a couple of weeks to get back into the swing. However, her termination paperwork was already prepared and signed 14 minutes after she left that meeting. After her firing we went thru EEOC (which took a 1 year a half) to get a right to sue letter. In Mar
14, we went to trial for 5 days, 12 jury members voted to pay her backpay because they violated their own policy. Unfortunately, the lawyer representing the State of Texas did not agree with the outcome. She appealed the ruling to the 5th Court of Appeals,
the verdict was reversed with 20 days. From what our lawyers were saying is, she claims the case should have never went to trial. Our lawyers appealed and the case went to the TX State Supreme Court. Apparently they don't even have to look at the case and
they throw it back down the chain. I have sent inquiries to other websites asking what can we do next. They said appeal to the United States Supreme Court. I think that is ridiculous because 1) If she was officially under this supervisor on 8 Dec 08, the car
accident would not have occurred. 2) They could have just gave her the job back once released from the doctor, after all, during the trial her real supervisor testified for the other side and stated my wife "was an excellent worker who got along with everyone"
when asked was there anything derogatory to say, "she did not use spellcheck often when typing reports". I believe this representing the State of TX has the 5th Court of Appeals & State Supreme Court in her pocket as she uses the State Atty. General name frequently
on all their letterhead paperwork. What's your advice. Can we talk to someone about my last comment. Thanks for your time. Michael L. Howard, MSgt, USAF, (Ret)
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 2 years ago.

Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.

While you think the whole thing is ridiculous, and it may indeed be ridiculous based on the facts, I am afraid that if she has lost her case to the Texas Court of Appeals and the Texas Supreme Court, the next avenue here is an appeal to the US Supreme Court through the federal appeals process. I am presuming from your claims here that there is a potential claim here from your facts of denial of her due process rights as she has a property interest in her government employment and also a possible ADA complaint regarding her disability. Under FMLA, after as long as she was out she was no longer protected.

So while I understand you are upset by the whole process, when she was terminated she was no longer protected under the Family and Medical Leave Act, so her claims here would have to be adjudicated now through the federal system through appeals, as your wife has exhausted the state appeals rights.