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The Big File All issues not easily categorized in the above forums are here. Comments on general health, diet, "getting comfortable," and more are here.


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  #1  
Old 11-27-2007, 09:07 AM
NJWC NJWC is offline
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Where are there some good solid sources / support forums where there could be found information involving Labor Law issues -- especially upon the return from TTD (Total Temporary Disability) and the employer is sending bad vibes?

There's nothing better than a lawyer, but I'm interested in something similar to this website -- just as the info here is not the same as asking your actual doctor.

Or, if there is anyone here who is well versed or experienced than that would be great too!
__________________
"NJWC"
Charite ADR L5-S1 October 2007
********************
Male, age 42, Hgt 6’ 1”, 195 lbs, Non-smoker, active retail sales manager, pain pre-ADR was chronic & "energy reducing".
02-01-08 Pain levels dropping. Energy good. getting Activity back.
05-02-08 Return to Work
05/08-05/09 Significant anxiety and depression due to loss of job (25 years).
08-16-09 Accepting pain levels of 4/5 at L5 area and left butt / upper left leg areas (charlie horse type of feeling).
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  #2  
Old 11-27-2007, 12:06 PM
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Terry Terry is offline
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NJWC:

It's difficult enough recovering from the kind of surgery you went through let alone having nonsense from your employer when you return. It's amazing how many employers are non-supportive of the human condition and expect workhorses. I hope you find someone that can assist you in this matter.

My board kicked me out of my business until I got my spine operated on. They were tired of me coming in to work in a stuck, monumental amount of pain with no end in site. They were very supportive and paid my salary 100% for four months in my absence. We had a disability policy that would have only covered me at 60% which I could not have lived with. They wanted me back in the condition they had come to expect in the 17 years that I have been here. I know it can go any way though for employees as I have about 35 working for me presently. I am always careful about how I treat them though as they are the cause of my success. Too many managers get big egos and think the company is all about them. One should never forget that team work conquers all and managers are nothing but a team member.

Good luck in getting your issue straightened around.

Terry Newton
__________________
1980 ruptured L4-L5
1988 ruptured SI-L5
1990 ruptured C5-C6
1994 ruptured C6-C7
1995 Hemi-Laminectomy C5-C6, C6-C7 Mayo Clinic
Bicycle Accident 2004
MRI, EMG, Facet Injections, Epidural Blocks, Lumbar Discogram.
Stenum Hospital Surgery November 4, 2006
Prestige Disc C5-C6, C6-C7
Maverick Disc S1-L5, L4-L5
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  #3  
Old 11-27-2007, 05:03 PM
KL Aguilar KL Aguilar is offline
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The forum at MGH has a Worker's Comp section. The only downside is that the laws vary by each state so sharing is fairly general. In my case, I had a first injury that was more or less resolved by MISS in 2000 and I went back to work 6 weeks later with permanent restrictions re lifting, carrying, etc. All my supervisors were very conscientious about my not doing such things until my last job (within the same company) and sure enough, I was re-injured at the same three levels plus one new level.
__________________
--------------------------------------------
First injured C4-7 in 9-95.
Had CED (MISS) at those levels 1-00 and regained my life.
New injury + re-injury C3-7 in 8-06, initially causing "claw hand."
Latest MRI shows: 4.5mm disc protrusion,
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  #4  
Old 11-30-2007, 12:42 AM
LBP LBP is offline
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In order to help you it might be helpful to be a little more specific about your situation. Also the use of certain terminology might help point you in the right direction.

In the legal world "labor law" generally means union issues. Do you belong to a labor union? If not... you might need to be using "employment law" and/or "employment discrimination" terminology. In reading your "signature" as a sales rep, it seems to imply you're not a part of a union. Some law firms do both labor and employment law but there are many plaintiff side firms that just do discrimination cases (often times along with personal injury law) and not much union stuff or workers comp stuff. Just my personal experience in CA. And while you might have a workers comp lawyer, wc is a whole other world. Employment law/discrimination lawyers don't necessarily do much with the wc issues but sometimes the two worlds overlap/collide a bit. Just a heads up. Some issues affect each other but many times you have different lawyers for these different areas of the law.

To me it sounds like you feel as if you might be discriminated for having a medical condition, a disability, need some accomodations, or perhaps you feel like your employer is retaliating against you for your medical leave or ongoing medical condition or disability. Or maybe even retaliation for having a workers comp claim???? You want to look at Employment law /Discrimination laws as well as Family Medical Leave Act and discuss and state common law possibilities. Have you started a converstation with your employer about what kinds of accomodations you need to perform your job?

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission eeoc.gov website might be a good start regarding federal laws,

and your state also has an agency see www.state.nj.us/lps/dcr/law.html

Your state laws and procedural requirements might be different and may expand on your federal rights. Also you may need to look at fed and state Family and Medical Leave Act issues.

It sure wouldn't hurt to do a free consult with a plaintiff's attorney who specializes in employment law issues and discrimination issues, In California there were some public policy arguments to be made depending on the situation (usually wrongful termination in violation of public policy) but I have no idea what is applicable in NJ. Generaly these types of cases work on contingency fee arrangments for actual litigation but in a more informal situation (pre litigation) you might make some arrangement on an hourly rate for the attorney to give advice, guidance, and even mediation with your employer or their counsel to educate them about your situation, needs and rights under the law.

Sometimes attorneys can help avoid litigation, and thus avoid fighting to get your job back. The attorney may also be able to give you some good advice how to document retaliatory type behavior and how to properly deal with your situation and how to protect your rights and perhaps put your employer on notice of the laws. Your employer may need some education. It's important to give your employer an opportunity to do the right thing if you are perceiving some unlawful treatment by your employer.

Besides opening up a phone book, Findlaw.com and martindale.com can help you search for lawyers and lawfirms in a specific city as well as legal speciality. Findlaw may also help with general information about various legas subjects. Most of the big/long firm names are defense lawyers...it takes a little more digging to find the right plaintiff's attorney.

Not sure if you need this info... but: see http://lwd.dol.state.nj.us/labor/for...s/tdi/Code.pdf

other possible sites:
http://blog.laborlawcenter.com/2006/08/24/new-jersey-nj...aw-in-the-workplace/

http://njlawnet.com/employmentlaw.html

I've never lived in NJ, My licence to practice in CA is currently inactive while I try to get ADR surgery. Therefore, Please do not construe this as any form of legal advice. I am only directing you to websites for general background info and also websites that might help you find a attorney in your area to discuss your specific situaiton so that you can inform yourself how to deal with potential legal issues in the context of your real life health and family needs.
__________________
Injured 9/01
Annular tears L4/5 & L5/S1
denied adr by insurance for 2 level charite as well as hybrid fusion at L5/S1 with Charite at L4/5.

New ins paid for 2 level lumbar prodisc surgery on 4/7/08 (at age 39) with Dr. Westerlund, at Core Orthop
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  #5  
Old 12-01-2007, 01:04 PM
NJWC NJWC is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by LBP:
Do you belong to a labor union? If not... you might need to be using "employment law" and/or "employment discrimination" terminology.

To me it sounds like you feel as if you might be discriminated for having a medical condition, a disability, need some accomodations, or perhaps you feel like your employer is retaliating against you for your medical leave or ongoing medical condition or disability. Or maybe even retaliation for having a workers comp claim???? You want to look at Employment law /Discrimination laws as well as Family Medical Leave Act and discuss and state common law possibilities. Have you started a converstation with your employer about what kinds of accomodations you need to perform your job?

Your employer may need some education. It's important to give your employer an opportunity to do the right thing if you are perceiving some unlawful treatment by your employer.
LBP,

Thank you for all of the info. This gives me a great start!

To answer your questions:

I do not belong to a labor union so "Employment Law" or "Employment Discrimination" are the most appropriate descriptions of concerning my situation.

And more specifics regarding the situation:

- My employers company size is 16 full time employees with an additional 15+ part time employees. The company's gross sales are about $8,000,000 per year.

- I've been out of work on TTD for 11 months.

- Workers comp claim

- I'm a 20+ year employee with a big title

- 20+ years of clean record

- 6 months prior to injury owners began hostile treatment towards me -- 2 meetings with owner and HR documenting -- petty stuff -- obviously an attempt to preassure me to quit. I wouldn't quit -- I fired back and asked them to release me if it was so bad. Things smoothed over after 1 month and it was back to normal. Never received any written warnings, etc. In fact, received positive written notes from owner PLUS accomplished sales goals and recieved bonuses after the hostility episode.

- I'm over the age 40

- Owner has not called or written with get well wishes etc. (usually shows concern). Maybe 4 calls in 11 months. (2 of them with a HR documenting)

- I've continuously stayed in touch with HR with updates (HR vents to me how difficult things are at the job)

- I know that they have not hired anyone to fill my position (they've used co-workers to complete my duties and hire part-timers to fill in the blanks.

I just have very strong vibes that they will either:

- let me go
- Demote me to a lower position with lower pay(since they can handle my postion now at a lower cost)
- Keep me at same position and be hostile toward me.

I know that they have legal advice. The company does have experience in legal issues. They had a harrassment case about 12 years ago that cost them dearly (legal fees and compensation to employee). There is a new partner who's full of money and has a huge ego and is not affraid to fight -- but does understand how to weigh out risk versus cost.

I just want to be prepared -- and I want to know what possible scenarios to expect.


Would love to hear your comments after learning more of the details.

Thanks.
__________________
"NJWC"
Charite ADR L5-S1 October 2007
********************
Male, age 42, Hgt 6’ 1”, 195 lbs, Non-smoker, active retail sales manager, pain pre-ADR was chronic & "energy reducing".
02-01-08 Pain levels dropping. Energy good. getting Activity back.
05-02-08 Return to Work
05/08-05/09 Significant anxiety and depression due to loss of job (25 years).
08-16-09 Accepting pain levels of 4/5 at L5 area and left butt / upper left leg areas (charlie horse type of feeling).
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  #6  
Old 12-01-2007, 07:33 PM
LBP LBP is offline
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Hello NJWC,

One thing you stated confused me a bit...maybe a typo? You mentioned your employer was hostile torwards you BEFORE your injury? Did you mean AFTER you were injured and after you filed a workers comp claim? Makes a big difference in the facts

Another question...you've stated you already had a Charite surgery. Congrats. Hope your recovery is going well...hope you're just going through routine recovery. Do you have a timeline when you are expected to return to work or do you have complications that will prolong that process? Will you have work restrictions?

For a general reference at findlaw.com it says:
Workers' Compensation - Employers' Responsibilities
Employer's Duty Not to Retaliate

Although workers' compensation laws provide remedies to injured employees, they also protect employers, as they are designed to be the only remedy that injured employees may seek from their employers. Even so, employers often appear to frown on employees who file workers' compensation benefit claims, and some blatantly discriminate against such employees. To protect employees from employers who discriminate against, harass, or unjustly terminate injured employees, many states prohibit employers from punishing, discriminating against, or discharging employees who exercise their rights under workers' compensation laws, and allow employees to bring civil actions against their employers for the tort of "retaliatory discharge."

If an employee believes he or she has been discriminated against or discharged in retaliation for exercising rights under workers' compensation laws, he or she may have a claim against his or her employer for retaliatory discharge. In a retaliatory discharge suit, the employee must convince a judge or jury that it was more likely than not that he/she was wrongfully terminated. However, the employee does not have to prove that the workers' compensation claim is the sole reason for the discharge. The test is usually whether the employer's action is rooted substantially or significantly in the employee's exercise of rights under workers' compensation laws.

Besides termination, retaliation may take the form of more subtle types of discriminatory treatment, such as demotion or salary reduction. Injured employees are protected from discriminatory conduct immediately after an injury and before a formal workers' compensation claim is filed. An employee's cause of action may be successful even though all the employee did was give notice to the employer of a claim.
see: http://injury.findlaw.com/workers-compensation/workers-...ics-employer(1).html

Do you feel comfortable discussing this issue with your wc attorney? Are you healthy/mobile enough to meet with a discrimination attorney? I would highly recommend doing a free consult with an employment discrimination attorney. Bring notes of your timeline, when you were injured, when you filed wc claim, when/who/and how they were hostile towards you. This is assuming the hostile behavior was after you were injured and/or after you filed a wc claim.

Good luck in your recovery. You might not feel very lucky right now but getting ADR surgery paid for is no easy feat! Your health is always more important than a potential lawsuit like this but it sure doesn't hurt to be proactive and have your ducks in a row going back into a potentially hostile environment to protect yourself and your livelihood.

JUST an FYI...when filing a discrimination (retaliation) type complaint you are required to exhaust your administrative remedies. Often times this does not mean you must personally file a complaint on your own without the help of an attorney. If you hire an attorney they usually have you complete the required form(s) with the appropriate agencies and then request a "right to sue" letter. This is all assuming you get to this stage and assuming you have fed or state statutory claim vs. a common law claim. Start researching plaintiff side employment lawyers in your area! google them...read up on them to see whose good in your area. another resource is to look at a webpage for the new jersey state bar.

Best of luck. Sorry I cannot do more, but I am not permitted to give legal advice to you.
__________________
Injured 9/01
Annular tears L4/5 & L5/S1
denied adr by insurance for 2 level charite as well as hybrid fusion at L5/S1 with Charite at L4/5.

New ins paid for 2 level lumbar prodisc surgery on 4/7/08 (at age 39) with Dr. Westerlund, at Core Orthop
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  #7  
Old 12-11-2007, 02:54 AM
epiphaknee epiphaknee is offline
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I think the group you are looking for is at: Disinissues@yahoogroups.com

This is a group that discusses both social security disability issues, workers compensation issues (this includes you), employment issues with regards to accommodation (this may be you) and employment issues with regards to discriminatory practices (this is definitely sounding like your current "position")and/or wrongful termination (this might be you but you can take steps to protect yourself).

I think at a minimum you want to speak to an employment attorney who represents employees and develop a legal approach/strategy to possibly being fired due to discriminatory practices, determining whether accommodations are available under existing employment law rules as applied to your employment situation and also a workers compensation attorney who can layout the "typical" scenario. The "fireworks" typically occur once the temporary workers compensation converts over to long term WC (this typically occurs between months 6 and 12). Also, certain companies who "insure" in this area just don't pay due to the manner in which the ERISA rules favor a wait-to-pay approach. The strategy here is to bleed you dry and then offer up some ridiculous amount to settle all claims.

So join this group and read and read. At times it will be like reading your own diary and at other times you'll think, "Nah, that's not my situation and then a little farther down the tracks and your situation will come into better focus..."

Employment law attorneys, workers compensation attorneys and even SSDI and SSI attorneys contribute and offer excellent advice on this site.

Good Luck!! You are way ahead of the game because you are aware of what is going on and you are still employed. Those are powerful tools!!!!

Once Again Good Luck!!!
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