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If an employer threatens termination while on short-term disability, what do I do?

Kirkland, WA |

Due to a back injury I have a very crooked pelvis, spinal damage, arthritis and spinal degeneration. I have major pain in my cervical area also and suffer from very bad migraines. My job requires me to stay seated for long periods of time, on a computer and the stress level is over the top. Basically the job is VERY emotionally toxic and nothing more than a glorified sweat shop. Understaffed and the verbal threats and write ups are constant since this new corporate structure started. My body finally collapsed on Nov. 23 2011. Just shut down and I had a breakdown, the pain was intolerable. My doctor put me on short term disability. I am getting threats of termination now. However I know that they will try to fire me if I go back also. I can't go back.. Don't know what to do.

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Attorney answers 3


First and foremost, you should speak with a Washington employment law attorney to discuss your employment rights. Because you are on short term disability, you should also know that the law allows you to continue to collect short term disability benefits (and potentially long term disability benefits) even if your employment is terminated.


I would contact a local WA employment law attorney. Many attorney's will allow you a free consultation anywhere from 30-120 minutes and will sit and discuss your case. They can then give you better advice how to go forward in the future, what your rights are, and what expenses you will have.


You also should apply for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits.

SSD is financed with Social Security taxes paid by workers, employers, and self-employed persons. To be eligible for SSD benefits, the worker must earn sufficient credits based on taxable work to be "insured" for SSD purposes. Disability benefits are payable to: blind or disabled workers, their children, widow(er)s, and adults disabled since childhood The worker will get Medicare coverage automatically after receiving disability benefits for two years. The amount of the monthly disability benefit is based on the Social Security earnings record of the insured worker.

Social Security reviews cases using the five-step sequential evaluation process to decide is a person is disabled. Here are the 5 questions that make up the sequential evaluation process:
(1) Does your impairment keep you from being able to perform a substantial gainful activity (SGA), generally full-time, competitive, work?
(2) Is your impairment severe? AND, is your impairment expected to remain severe for at least 12 months?
(3) Does your impairment “meet or equal” one of Social Security’s “Listing of Impairments?” A listing of medical conditions, acceptable medical evidence, and the severity necessary for an impairment to be considered disabling. There are separate listings for adults and for children.
(4) Does your impairment prevent you from being able to perform any job you performed over the last 15 years which was also a substantial gainful activity?
(5) Does your impairment prevent you from being able to perform any other type of work which exists in substantial numbers of the national economy?

In my opinion you should get an attorney as early in the process as possible as there is no fee unless you are awarded benefits (contingency) and the fees are set by Social Security law and would be the same regardless if you hire the attorney the week before your hearing or the day you applied originally.

Contact NOSSCR to find a Social Security attorney in your area, look for one offering a free no-obligation initial consultation (most do) then meet with one or more and sign up with one you are comfortable with.

NOSSCR Lawyer Referral Service - For help in finding attorney representation, contact its lawyer referral service during Eastern business hours:


Disclaimer Information on this site is provided by Brian Scott Wayson as general information, not legal advice, and use of this information does not establish an attorney-client relationship. If you have questions about your specific situation, please call an attorney.

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