When you are battling a serious illness or disability, the last thing you want to have to worry about is your job security. You may have medical bills to contend with and if you need to take leave for your treatment or recovery, you deserve the peace of mind of knowing you have a job to come back to. Sadly, many employees in Indiana suffer discrimination, demotion or even discharge during this already difficult period.
One woman has faced the reality of this after taking medical leave for a major operation. The mother of two was employed by Chick-fil-A, having moved from Indiana to take the job. Unfortunately, she was diagnosed with double breast cancer for which she would require a bilateral mastectomy. According to an attorney for Chick-fil-A, her health insurance coverage was paid by the store. However, when she was cleared to return to work, she was informed that a full-time position was no longer available for her.
She was to be dropped from a working week of 40-plus hours, to one of only 10 to 15 hours. Her hourly wage was also set to drop, from $14 to $10. According to one of Denver Sturm College of Law’s Workplace Law Program directors, the timing of the decision could be inferred to be retaliatory. Furthermore, although the woman was not technically fired, her case could be viewed as one of constructive discharge.
Knowing the ins and outs of such cases can be difficult, especially when you have the stress of reduced income. However, an attorney may be able to help you sort through the details and understand your rights. With the correct guidance, you may be able to challenge your employer, seeking compensation for your unfair treatment and perhaps the reinstatement of your job.
Source: 7 News Denver, “Chick-fil-A demotes breast cancer survivor after she takes medical leave for double mastectomy,” Jaclyn Allen, Sep 10, 2014