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If a government employee is terminated after being on stress leave, causing him to lose pension, benefits, etc, what recourse?

Yorba Linda, CA |

i went on a doctor approved medical stress leave after being subjected to harassment and discrimination. I attempted to return 2 weeks ago with reasonable accommadations and they made my return horrible which caused me to become ill again. i had filed a workers comp stress claim upon my doctors recomendation which is still pending approval. They notified me by phone they are going to terminate me this week. after being an employee for ten years, i have a vested interest in permanent disability benefits (worked ten years) a pension, medical benefits etc. i cant afford to lose my job in this economy and with a disability as well. what kind of attorney should i seek and should i wait to get the paperwork from them about my termination?

Attorney Answers 5

Posted

You need an attorney and, in my view, you need one with specific experience in employment disputes involving your public agency. The advantage to you in an attorney who knows your agency's strengths and weaknesses, who knows the players and where the pressure points are, who understands the personnel culture and the limits of the authority of individual managers -- all of these are tangible and real advantages that can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case.

Your union may be able to identify for you attorneys who have had success litigating against your employing entity. Or you can use Google and Google Scholar to pull up the cases that have involved your jurisdiction and agency and then check out the lawyers and law firms listed in those cases as the employee's counsel.

My responses to questions on Avvo are never intended as legal advice and must not be relied upon as legal advice. I give legal advice only in the course of an attorney-client relationship. Exchange of information through Avvo's Questions forum does not establish an attorney-client relationship with me. That relationship is established only by individual consultation and execution of a written agreement for legal services.

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Asker

Posted

thank you I googled it and found at least one case involving my employer where they lost

Christine C McCall

Christine C McCall

Posted

Excellent! And I am sure that there are more. These attorneys/law firms are your very best prospects and can deliver significant advantages if your case is sound. Good luck to you.

Posted

Depending on which agency you work for or union you belong to, you should have appeal rights. Exercise them. Most government employees cannot be terminated without good cause. If you are in a union, speak to your union representative. Otherwise seek an attorney who represents public employees for assistance.

They say you get what you pay for, and this response is free, so take it for what it is worth. This is my opinion based on very limited information. My opinion should not be taken as legal advice. For true advice, we would require a confidential consultation where I would ask you questions and get your complete story. This is a public forum, so remember, nothing here is confidential. Nor am I your attorney. I do not know who you are and you have not hired me to provide any legal service. To do so would require us to meet and sign written retainer agreement. My responses are intended for general information only.

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Posted

I agree with my colleague that you should contact your union rep, but I would strongly suggest that you contact an attorney even at this stage to guide you through the union appeal process. Our firm has done work in the public arena and would be happy to provide a free consultation to assess your potential claims. These cases are very fact specific, so without more detail, I would not advise you further without the benefit all of your circumstances. There are a number of good firms that practice in this area. The Orange County Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service is a good source for names of such attorneys/firms. Be sure to act soon. I wish you the best of luck and good health.

No Attorney-Client Relationship The use of this website and/or any information contained herein shall not create any attorney-client relationship between you and Amezcua-Moll & Associates, P.C.(or any of its attorneys). Prior to acting on any material based on the information contained herein, you should seek and retain an attorney licensed to practice law in the appropriate jurisdiction.

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Posted

In addition to the good advice provided to you already, I would note that depending on the length of time you have already been out on unpaid leave, the nature of your job and the flexibility of your employer, it may be unlawful for your employer to terminate you because you need more leave. Additionally, if the harassment and discrimination that caused this stress is of the unlawful kind, you may have additional rights.

It would be very prudent of you to locate and consult with a good employment law attorney about the details of this situation. You may very well have a significant cause of action available to you, but you will not know until you take the time to discuss it with a good attorney.

Good luck to you.

This answer should not be construed to create any attorney-client relationship. Such a relationship can be formed only through the mutual execution of an attorney-client agreement. The answer given is based on the extremely limited facts provided and the proper course of action might change significantly with the introduction of other facts. All who read this answer should not rely on the answer to govern their conduct. Please seek the advice of competent counsel after disclosing all facts to that attorney. This answer is intended for California residents only. The answering party is only licensed to practice in the State of California.

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Posted

This is a very interesting and challenging area of the law. I am beginning to learn this area, because I see this scenario happening more frequently with California's budget issues.

The public entity probably has a duty to make the application for your permanent disability benefits on your behalf. If they won't do that, then you will need a lawyer to get a court order forcing the government entity to do what California law requires them to do. Many entities have different retirement plans, so this is not a one-size-fits-all issue.

Generally, the government must take you back and accommodate your disability or make the application to your retirement plan. They cannot have it both ways, but sometimes they do try.

On Monday, I am meeting with lawyers who specialize in these cases. There are very few California lawyers who are good at this, from what I am told.

Feel free to call me Monday late afternoon or in the evening for a referral.

Best regards,

David A. Mallen
310.895.0107 cell phone
310.606.0065 x103 office

David A. Mallen offers answers on Avvo for general information only. This offer of free, general answers is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. If you need specific advice regarding your legal question, you should consult an attorney confidentially. Many experienced California labor and employment attorneys, including David A. Mallen offer no-risk legal consultations to employers and employees at no charge. David A. Mallen is licensed to practice law before all state and federal courts in California, as well as the California Labor Commissioner and the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board. Failure to take legal action within the time periods prescribed by law could result in the loss of important legal rights and remedies.

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