Topic: Terminated for job abandonment

Forum: Employment, Insurance, and Other Financial Issues — Employment, insurance, and financial concerns are common. Meet others here to discuss and for support.

Posted on: May 3, 2011 09:11AM

Posted on: May 3, 2011 09:11AM

jjordanj wrote:

I just recieved a letter from my employer that I have been terminated due to job abandonment.  I am still on disabbility for axillary node dissection and am due to start radiation in two weeks.  It is a small company with less than 20 employees.  My employer is a physician who is obviously heartless.  My concern is my insurance coverage and being able to afford cobra.  Does anyone have any advice?

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May 3, 2011 09:39AM petjunkie wrote:

I don't know anything about this, but I do know that job abandonment is supposed to be only when someone stops showing up to work without notice. It shouldn't even apply when you are on disability! That is so MEAN. Sheesh. 

I would see if you could get a free consult with an attorney who specializes in employment laws. I would also check your state's website for any info you can get on "job abandonment." You have federal rights under the Family Medical Leave Act, so you might want to check that website as well. There are probably different rules for companies under 20 employees, but it still seems like you should have some rights here! 

Dx 10/2007, DCIS, 6cm+, Grade 3, 0/5 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2+ Dx 10/2009, IDC, Stage IV, Grade 3, mets, ER+/PR-, HER2+
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May 3, 2011 09:45AM imbell wrote:

Different country, different rules. My experience has been letting someone go because they have cancer is covered by the Human Rights Act, i.e. discrimination against the disabled. If it applies to people with drug and alcohol addiction why not cancer. See if you can get a 30 min consult with a lawyer.

Dx 9/10/2009, IDC, 5cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, 5/17 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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May 3, 2011 10:02AM - edited May 3, 2011 10:03AM by Luan

jjordanj - that IS AWFUL, I'm so sorry Frown

Know though that it's happening all the time.  My cousin who has worked in the same medical office for 25 years was just let go recently for "breach of lien" or something like that.  She is so upset she cannot even talk about it.  She is BRAC2 + so has had to undergo mx, hysterectomy, reconstruction and because of recurrence chemo and radiation + tamox just within the last 2 years.

I saw a show the other day where this woman was let go the same day she told her bosses (2 doctors BTW) of her mammography results, she had BC.  She fought them, it took many years, but she won !

I know that if I had not lost my job 6 months prior to diagnosis, that the firm I was at would most likely have let me go with some made up excuse.

If you have the strength and the means, then you most likely need a lawyer if you want to fight this.

My thoughts are with you Innocent

Don't knock at death's door. Ring the bell and run. He hates that. Dx 10/2009, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 1, 2/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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May 4, 2011 09:49AM gale1525 wrote:

    With the  family Leave act you have to get forms and fill them out and turn them in to your employer.  As far as I know you need form WH-380-E. (U.S. Department of Labor)  It should give you the right to be out 12 weeks and to be able to retain your position and pay.  I think after that they may have to give you a job back but not necessarily the same position and pay. This just happened to my husband he works for a small company with no H.R. department. I got this information from the state disability insurance, when I had called to ask about something, the lady I talked to said alot of people don't know about this and end up losing their job. Do this a soon as possible to protect your job. Hopefully you can work through rads I did.

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May 4, 2011 09:57AM Valgal wrote:

If you are in the United States contact your local Department of Human Rights. They will assign you a free attorney. Do it right away as there are time limitations. My sister works (attorney) for them in a major city and she would be ALL over this! It's your right!

Dx 7/2/2010, IDC, <1cm, Stage I, Grade 1, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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May 4, 2011 10:00AM Megadotz wrote:

First off, I'm assuming that you're in the US. 

 Family Medical Leave only applies to employers with 50 or more employees. I used it for my treatment and it was a lifesaver.

 The Americans with Disabilities Act would  the vehicle for redress.  Here's the link fro employee rights from the labor department:

 The folks at might also be able to help steer you to the right resources.

Good luck.  My thoughts are with you.

Dx 3/12/2009, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 1/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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May 4, 2011 10:01AM - edited May 4, 2011 10:01AM by lindakr

Cancer is considered a disability under the American with Disabilities Act - because your employer has less than a certain number of employees some of the rules may not apply to them, but here are a couple of websites that have information on that.

 Also, check with your local American Cancer Society.  In Oregon we have something called the FHIAP (Family Health Insurance Assistance Program) if you qualify (meaning your income needs to be within a certain parameter) they pay  50- 90% of your Cobra premium, you get in on the fast track if you have been laid off and have cancer.  So check with your state department of human services to see what's available for you there.  Also, if you're married see if you can get on your spouses insurance policy. 

 Good Luck - I was laid off in the  middle of my treatments because my job was eliminated - so I'm paying the $1300 monthly for cobra, didn't quite qualify for the assistance program, but am still drawing disability (company sponsored). Just don't let your insurance go.


Modified Radical MX w/axillary dissection; 6xTCH, Hercpetin for a year, Rads, trying 3rd AI Aromasin. No Reconstruction. Lymphedema. Dx 3/19/2010, IDC, 4cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 2, 5/18 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 4/2/2010 Lymph node removal; Lymph node removal (Left): Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy; Mastectomy (Left) Targeted Therapy 5/15/2010 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Chemotherapy 5/15/2010 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Hormonal Therapy 9/15/2010 Arimidex (anastrozole), Aromasin (exemestane), Femara (letrozole) Radiation Therapy 9/25/2010 Whole breast: Breast, Lymph nodes, Chest wall Hormonal Therapy Arimidex (anastrozole)
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May 4, 2011 10:06AM specialk wrote:

FMLA only applies to companies with more than 50 employees.  Are you out on state disab or through your employer?  You definitely need to maintain continuous insurance coverage or you can be denied future coverage for a pre-existing condition. 

BMX w/ TE 11/1/10, ALND 12/6/10. 16 additional surgeries. TCHx6 2/17-6/2/11. Herceptin until 1/19/12. Femara 8/1/11, Arimidex 6/20/12, back to Femara 2013-2018. Dx 9/27/2010, IDC, Right, 2cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 2/14 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+, IHC
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May 4, 2011 10:17AM - edited May 4, 2011 10:17AM by 1WonderWoman

You definitely have rights and don't let anyone get away with what this doctor is trying to do.   Perhaps telling telling that doctor you are calling The Justice Department will fix their ass! 

Just so you know, and no matter where you stand politically, George W. Bush as one of his last acts in office, completely annihilated loop holes in the ADA coverage of breast cancer patients.  We are, unequiovocally, covered under the ADA because of what he did.  You see, in previous years, employers were winning in court and the right's of bc patients were being trampled.  Dubs fixed all that!!!!!!! 

I am going to help you.  First I am going to post particular information here and then, if you PM me, I will send you a MSW file with everything you need to know about FMLA, ADA, your right's, which governmental departments deal with each facet and then you will know who to call and how to start some trouble for this jerk employer of your's...a doctor no less.  The only thing that would be worse is if you told me your employer was a woman.

In any case, here goes:

Office on the Americans with Disabilities Act
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Civil Rights Division
Disability Rights Section - NYAV
Washington, D.C. 20530
Toll-free number: 1-800-514-0301 (voice)
TTY: 1-800-514-0383
Fax: 1-202-307-1198
Web site:

Under the ADA, an individual must have a record of a substantially limiting impairment in order to be covered.


Referral of Individuals with FMLA Questions or Complaints

23. Q: Who should be contacted for information about the FMLA or
to file FMLA complaints?

A: For additional information about the FMLA, or to file an
FMLA complaint, individuals should contact the nearest
office of the Wage and Hour Division, Employment Standards
Administration, U.S. Department of Labor. The Wage and
Hour Division is listed in most telephone directories under
U.S. Government, Department of Labor.

For further information, contact the Office of Legal Counsel's
Attorney of the Day at 202-663-4691.

This fact sheet is available upon request in alternative formats.
Write or call EEOC's Office of Communications and Legislative Affairs,
1801 L Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20507, (202) 663- 4900,
TDD (202) 663-4494.


For a detailed discussion of the ADA definition of
disability, see Compliance Manual Section 902, Definition of the Term

20. 0 See 29 C.F.R. § 825.500(g)(3).

21. 0 See 29 C.F.R. § 1630.14(c)(ADA).

22. 0 There is also an exception to the applicable
confidentiality requirements for government officials investigating
compliance with the FMLA, pursuant to § 825.500(g)(3) of the FMLA

PM me and I will send you the entire MSW file I have on this matter.  

My final advice: Start making calls NOW!

Abraham Lincoln: It is not the years in your life that count---it's the life in your years>>>> Recon trilogy!: BMX w/imm recon 6/10=TE infected (failed); MF graft attempt 10/11=L necrotic (failed): 7/12 DIEP FLAP **VERY successful**
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May 4, 2011 10:41AM jjordanj wrote:

Thanks so much everyone for your help.  I just found out that my insurance was cancelled on April 1, 2011 and the letter of termination states as of April 29.  So he has planned this all along.  Now I'm running around like crazy trying to get Cobra reinstated so that I can get my radiation treatments.  The last thing he said as I was leaving was not to worry about my job or medical coverage.  I was told by someone in the office that she had him sign a check for my April insurance.  Wow you just never know what jerks some bosses can be.

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