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Ask Law Educator, Esq. Your Own Question
Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 116715
Experience:  20+ Years of Employment Law Experience
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On May 25th my disc broke off on L4 of my vertebrae. I had

Customer Question

On May 25th my disc broke off on L4 of my vertebrae. I had surgery June 10. I had exhausted my vacation and of course signed up for the FMLA. I have been in constant contact with my employer through the entire process. I was able to receive Short Term disability, that I paid into. My last appointment with my neurologist was August 16 at which time they ordered PT for the first time, and gave me a release of Sept. 1. On August 17 I emailed my employer that notice. On August 25, I received, by registered mail, a letter in which it was stated that I no longer had a job due to the necessity to fill that position. No prior warning, now I cannot go to PT because I have no insurance and it is $150.00 per visit. I was scheduled to go 3x a week. I need that therapy because the muscles in my back are so tight they couldn't even release the muscle physically because they were afraid it would tear. Now, I cant go, I have no job, and my husbands insurance wont be effective for 90 days and most certainly will not pay for a pre-existing condition. To top off everything and a complete gut wrenching stab in the back the Director of Human Resources hired her son to take my job as Business Center Manager (from making sandwiches at the same employer) He is so inept he is taking computer classes during work! He has just become a father and is getting married soon. So, his mother, HR Director, just made his life very nice and mine an almost Hell.
JA: Because employment law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?
Customer: NC
JA: Have you talked to a lawyer yet?
Customer: no.
JA: Anything else you think the lawyer should know?
Customer: I'm in tears and would like to know if anyone would think I have a case yet. I don't want to waste my or anyone's time.
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Employment Law
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
email address is***@******.***
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 10 months 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.
Once an employee is out of work under FMLA for 12 weeks, they no longer have job protection. However, the employer by law must notify the employee of their termination and more particularly about the cancellation of their benefits and offer you insurance under COBRA. If they cancelled your benefits without proper notice and did not offer you COBRA, this is a violation of law for which you would file a complaint to the US Department of Labor, as they handle COBRA violations. In addition to filing the complaint, if you have incurred any medical expenses that should have been paid by insurance but were not because your employer improperly cancelled your insurance and did not provide COBRA, then your employer is liable for every one of those bills and you have grounds to sue them
The US DOL does not take COBRA violations lightly and will pursue your employer if they did not issue continuation of benefits notice to you prior to cancelling your insurance.
As far as the termination, once 12 weeks is surpassed, under FMLA they did not need to retain you in your employment I am afraid.
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
My biggest issue, pride aside, is not being able to afford the PT. I don't know if I should go and just be billed knowing I cannot pay them and wait for litigation? Also, they told me they would offer me COBRA the same day I was fired and that the paperwork would come via mail. It is Sept. 29 (morning-mail has not run yet) and I have nothing. NO WARNING.
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Do I need a lawyer or do you suggest I find one to report to US Dept of Labor? OR report myself?
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Sorry. It's August 29th and nothing yet.
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 10 months ago.
Thank you for your reply.
They have to offer you COBRA and there is supposed to be NO GAP in your coverage. So you should have coverage and seamless transition into COBRA, so you should be covered with your insurance by them. You need to contact your employer and get that straight.
First, call your employer and find out the cancellation date of your policy and your COBRA information. Send them an email follow up confirming you intend to take COBRA and are waiting for them to send you the information. If they have cancelled your insurance without notice and did not offer COBRA first, then you need to file a complaint with the US DOL first and then seek an attorney to pursue them for damages.
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Thank you. You've been most helpful. Do you / Can you recommend an attorney in North Carolina ?
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 10 months ago.
Thank you for your reply.
We cannot make personal referrals, the best we can make is a referral to the same sites used by other attorneys, or
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