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I an contacting you on behalf of Paterson. She suffered a…

Customer Question
I an contacting you...

I an contacting you on behalf of Jane Paterson. She suffered a debilitating cardiac event in March of this year. Her employer has been cooperative and company insurance has covered her to date. Her next steps are heart and kidney transplant. Having exhausted sick pay, vacation time, and short term disability, her employer has asked her to sign a separation agreement. In exchange for a release, the employer offers two weeks of pay and a form for COBRA. Our immediate questions are as follows: Is this typical, standard procedure and does the current health insurance carrier have no future obligation to provide coverage subsequent to that separation date for conditions related to the March cardiac event? They simply get to end any relationship at a time of their choosing? COBRA represents a significant expense versus employer provided coverage. Can this separation agreement be negotiated? Thank you, ***** *****

Lawyer's Assistant: Was this discussed with a manager or HR? Or with a lawyer?

The separation agreement comes from HR. We have not discussed this with counsel. That's what I'm trying to do now.

Lawyer's Assistant: Is the workplace "at will" or union? Is the job hourly or salaried?

Salaried employee. I have some understanding that Illinois is an "at will" state.

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

I don't know what else to say.

Submitted: 8 months ago.Category: Employment Law
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Answered in 4 minutes by:
11/13/2017
Employment Lawyer: Ely, Counselor at Law replied 8 months ago
Ely
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 103,582
Experience: Years of experience in running a medium sized law firm.
Verified

Hello and welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: This is general information for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed herein, and no attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an expert on this site. You may also be offered a phone call, but those don’t come from me and are offered by the website and you are under no obligation to accept.

I am sorry to hear about this situation. The answer depends on how she wishes to argue the matter. A person has a disability if he/she has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a record of such an impairment, or is regarded as having an impairment.

If she can successfully argue that her condition falls under this, she is then protected by ADA. The employer has to then make reasonable accommodations, including in the matters of:

  • providing or modifying equipment or devices,
  • job restructuring,
  • part-time or modified work schedules,
  • reassignment to a vacant position,
  • adjusting or modifying examinations, training materials, or policies,
  • providing readers and interpreters, and
  • making the workplace readily accessible to and usable by people with disabilities.

But that aside, there is no standard here assuming she approaches it as a non-ADA matter. A separation agreement means termination - the employer does not HAVE to offer COBRA in such a matter, and if they do, the length of time is negotiable.

"I STRIVE FOR FIVE!" My goal is to answer your question to your satisfaction. Please rate with five stars (★★★★★) and click SEND. It does not cost anything extra to rate. You may need to scroll left/right/up/down to see these stars. Rating my answer the bottom two stars or failing to submit the rating reflects poorly on me, even if my answer is correct. If you are not satisfied for whatever reason, or, have follow up questions, please simply reply with SEND before or after rating and let's continue to chat until you are satisfied. This is what I am here for.

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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
Thank you. It looks as if the employer can terminate her and extinguish all ongoing medical benefits at any time she can no longer perform her duties. Is that correct?
Employment Lawyer: Ely, Counselor at Law replied 8 months ago

Not quite. If she has a disability that falls under the ADA - and I do not know her health history so she may - the employer cannot simply terminate her because of her disability or because the employer has to make reasonable accommodations.

However if her condition does not fall under ADA, and the employer terminates her, they owe her no duty to continue insurance so anything as in COBRA and length of time of it would not be a right, but a privilege to be negotiated.

Kind Reminder: Please, use SEND button to keep chatting, or please rate positively and click SEND to submit your rating once satisfied. You may always ask follow ups at no charge before or after rating. "I STRIVE FOR FIVE!"

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DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.

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