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Allen M., Esq.
Allen M., Esq., Employment Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 19229
Experience:  Employment/Labor Law Litigation
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After a back surgery, I rec'd short term disability, and

Customer Question

After a back surgery, I rec'd short term disability, and used my "extended illness bank" as well as "paid time off" (vacation as well as sick time in same bank) At the time I was 65 years of age, RN at Children's Hospital Colorado for approx. 30 years. My surgeon released me to return to work with a weight restriction of 20 lbs. My manager agreed to put me on the schedule for the following day. Her supervisor did not agree and called me to say I did not meet the 100 lb. weight lift job requirement. I met with HR, who encourage me to apply for long term disability, which I did. That did take some time for the approval. I felt great, surgery very successful. The day I received approval for LTD, my manager's superior called to let me know they had decided they could not hold my position any longer, which I understood, and I would be hearing from HR to that end. The following day I rec'd via fed ex, my termination letter. It was not the way expected to end my career at Children's. I knew may RN's worked with weight restrictions for years and still do. In fact a much younger RN just returned to work after a recent carpal tunnel surgery who has the same position that I had. I still have an uncomfortable feeling about how this was all handled. I suspect I made too much money by then.Feedback please?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Allen M., Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for trusting your question to JA today. I am a licensed attorney with over a decade of law practice and over 20 years of experience in the legal field. I’m happy to be of assistance.

Employers are not legally required to accept restrictions when a person returns to work. They can have that person remain out until they meet the job requirements. Now, you stated that others had been allowed to return with restrictions and that certainly calls into question the reason the employer did so here. You mentioned two conflicting ideas though.

The first was age. If the employer here was motivated to release you simply because of your age, that is illegal and you can file an EEOC complaint in your state to have the matter preserved for suit and investigated more closely.

The second though was your salary. You stated that you felt you made too much money by then, which would another potential motivation to let you go and treat you differently. However, unlike age, releasing someone based on their salary isn't illegal. It is actually a legitimate business decision.

That presents an issue here. If you allege age discrimination and mention the wage issue to the EEOC, you've basically given the employer their legal defense. They will present the wage issue as their main motivation, which is a legitimate, non-discriminatory basis for their decision. That would undermine your age discrimination allegation.

If you feel strongly that your age was a deciding factor here, then file the EEOC complaint and mention only that.

If you have any further questions, please let me know. I invite follow up questions, so use REPLY for those. If you have no further questions then good luck going forward and please do not forget to rate my service with a top-three rating so that I receive credit for working with you today. Please rate me based on my service and not on your satisfaction with the law, which I am not in control of and I am just reporting to you. Also, feel free to request me in the future, if you have questions concerning a different matter.

Expert:  Allen M., Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Hello, I wanted to check in and make sure that there was not any additional information that you required after the response I previously provided to you. If you need further assistance, please use REPLY and ask me for any additional information you may need. If not, take care and have a great day.