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John, Employment Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 5563
Experience:  Exclusively practice labor and employment law.
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I am a 31 year (loyal) employee of Rockwell Automation,

Customer Question

Hello, I am a 31 year (loyal) employee of Rockwell Automation, Milwaukee, WI. I am 59.5 years old. I am in the process of being displaced/downsized/rightsized out of my company. I have a history of positive reviews, progression and being a solid contributor. I am also a person who has Multiple Sclerosis and has a couple of heart conditions (pacemaker, aortic valve that is failing, and an oversized heart). My Neurologist has gone on record with him deeming me "disabled" by the definitions of the FDA and MD community. I never wanted to leave my job and have never used my health conditions as a crutch. I power through them and am not a quitter in the truest sense. I have a reputation at my company by co workers as being one of the smartest, hardest working, passionate and loyal guys they have ever known or worked with.
My cell phone is(###) ###-#### I have been part of a business at RA which was an acquisition for approximately 3 years. RA does not do well with integration of acquisitions and mine is no exception. In the past 3 years the business has assigned and reassigned to 4 different managers, and business units.
I've worked hard to make this business succeed but in the end the business being a $10M business is "buried" in a $6B company. About 9 months ago my new manager advised that I was underperforming and that change was necessary. In April 2016 he stepped it up a notch. I suggested that I leave gracefully and proceed with disability process, of which I have been very cooperative. RA has a private (this is key) disability insurance with the Prudential which is highly subjective and does not follow the advice of my MD's or the definitions of the FDA. As such they are denying me for disability and RA has put me on "leave of absence without pay" - indefinitely, leaving me somewhat in employment "limbo" without compensation or other. I suspect that RA is attempting to frustrate me such that I simply resign without any severance pay.
I have requested in the past as well as most recently my employment records as well as a job description so that my MD's can write letters of appeal to the Prudential for them to reconsider my disability request. RA HR department has after weeks of requests not complied and does not return my phone calls. RA has been very careful not to put into writing any discriminatory terms such related to my health conditions or age.
I have made it clear to RA that I am willing to work in my current position if I could be reinstated, or to another position to which RA has to date declined. I've also offered up that if RA would like to retire me or even fire me and provide me with a severance package commensurate with others offered to others, I would consider this. When I have posed this suggestion of a severance package they have stated outright that they do not offer these. This is incorrect as I have spoken with other recently departed ex employees of RA who consistently tell me that the severance packages that they have received for being downsized or right sized, is equal to 1 week of compensation for every year of service. In my case that would be approximately 31 weeks. I have suggested this to RA HR department when we spoke last and they declined on this saying that I should proceed with my leave of absence without pay and trying to get the disability appeal through, despite an outright uncooperative willingness for RA to provide me with the needed records to submit the appeal data that I need to make my case with the Prudential.
I am at wits end, and do not know what to do. I do understand that WI is a free will state for employment. I do understand that RA's contract with The Prudential albeit a private contract with subjective to The Prudential interpretation, is very biased against approving my disability case.
I am an honest guy who has given his loyalty and commitment to RA for my entire career. I have been a significant contributor, but the truth is I am being pushed out, against my will, and RA has for the most part been unsupportive of providing me the support which in some cases (such as employment records/history) is required by WI state law. I do not know where to turn. I am hopeful that you can provide me with guidance or refer my case to an attorney who can help me. Sorry for this detail but as you can see, by no fault of my own, I am weaved into a very knotted web. Thank you for your help and guidance! - Jim Boschuetz email is***@******.***
Submitted: 12 months ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  John replied 12 months ago.

You need to first decide which route do you want to take - i.e., do you want to go after RA for disability discrimination or do you want to go after Prudential for denying your disability insurance. First the RA matter, if they have a job open that you could do with or without a reasonable accommodation it is illegal for them not to take you reinstate you from the leave. You can pursue this either with the EEOC or with a private attorney in your area. On the other hand if they don't have such accommodation you'd lose such a case.

On the other hand you can continue to pursue disability through Prudential - but in that case you are essentially admitting you are disabled and RA cannot accommodate you in any sense of the word because you cannot do any job in the economy given your skill set education and experience. The policy has an internal appeal process. You should most certainly retain an attorney to assist you with that as these are controlled by a law called ERISA and you probably would be harmed in a lawsuit later on if you fail to submit crucial evidence - namely medical evidence of disability - to the insurer. A good ERISA attorney can assist you in getting your claim paid.

Expert:  John replied 11 months ago.

I believe this answers your question. However, if you need clarification or have follow-up questions regarding this matter, I will be happy to continue our conversation – simply reply to this answer. If you are otherwise satisfied with my response, please leave a positive rating as itis the only way I am able to get credit for my answers. Thank you, ***** ***** wish you all the best with this matter.

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