Wow. What an unhappy whirlwind this must be for you. I'm really sorry to hear about all the things you've been going through.
If an attorney already analyzed your facts and believes your case is viable, why aren't you working with that attorney?
You have correctly noted that your employer was not required to allow you family leave because you had not worked there for a full year. And you noted the employer has less than 50 employees, so you must be aware that your employer was not required to comply with the FMLA for that reason, too. Your employer IS required to comply with the ADA and FEHA. You would have to show that you could perform the essential functions (main parts) of your job with or without a reasonable accommodation. A reasonable accommodation could be a leave of absence. However, showing that you can perform the essential functions may be tough due to your extensive absence.
your situation needs an assessment of the specific facts. The Avvo board is not set up to handle the kind of detailed analysis needed to offer helpful guidance. Avvo works best for short, specific questions that allow for short, specific answers. Perhaps more importantly, anyone can read the discussions on Avvo so they are not confidential. The employer or whomever is involved in the dispute can read everything written here.
I urge you to consult with one or more experienced employment law attorneys with whom you can discuss the details of your situation in a confidential setting. To find a plaintiffs employment attorney in California, please go to the web site of the California Employment Lawyers Association (CELA). CELA is the largest and most influential bar association in the state for attorneys who represent working people. The web site is www.cela.org. Click on "Find a CELA Member" and you can search by location and practice area. Many CELA attorneys represent clients throughout the state.
I hope you can resolve your situation and wish you the best.
twitter.com/MikaSpencer *** All legal actions have time limits, called statutes of limitation. If you miss the deadline for filing your claim, you will lose the opportunity to pursue your case. Please consult with an experienced employment attorney as soon as possible to better preserve your rights. *** Marilynn Mika Spencer provides information on Avvo as a service to the public, primarily when general information may be of assistance. Avvo is not an appropriate forum for an in-depth response or a detailed analysis. These comments are for information only and should not be considered legal advice. Legal advice must pertain to specific, detailed facts. No attorney-client relationship is created based on this information exchange. *** Marilynn Mika Spencer is licensed to practice law before all state and federal courts in California, and can appear before administrative agencies throughout the country. She is eligible to represent clients in other states on a pro hac vice basis. ***
Because you were not eligible for FMLA and the company is not bound by FMLA, the company's legal duty to you was to "reasonably accommodate" your medical condition. They may have a good defense since they did allow you to take leave for four months and they may argue that because of the merger, etc., that to further accommodate your condition was an undue hardship. I also don't understand that if you have been advised by an attorney that you "do have a case" why that attorney won't represent you. Attorneys don't turn down representation if there is a good case. It is best for you to call an employment law attorney to discuss the facts in more detail to see if we can get some type of settlement money, severance pay, etc. for you.