Can a company force you to take disability

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Steve Ridges, Sep 4, 2003.

  1. Steve Ridges

    Steve Ridges Stunt Coordinator

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    For the last year, I've been planning on have some surgery done. I've let my vacation time roll over and accrue so that I've now got 5 weeks. I talked to my boss and told him that sometime in the next 3-4 months, I'll most likely be taking 3 weeks off. I mentioned that I was planning on having surgury but didn't go into details. He reported it to HR and I'm now being told that I HAVE to take a medical disabilty - with a pay cut! They won't let me use my vacation. They are claiming that because of some family disabilty act, they have to by law place me on disability. This is insane to me. I didn't have to tell them what I would be doing on my vacation. It seems that with all the right to privacy acts going on these days that they shouldn't be able to do this. Being on reduced pay will really hurt and cause me to reconsider having the procedure. Can I fight this? Can I say I'm simply taking my vacation for personal reasons that are none of your business? Can they ask the insurance company if I had the surgery? Can the insurance company tell them? I'm really frustrated by this. The fact that I was honest about what I would be doing on my vacation is now screwing me. Does anyone have any advice?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Todd Hochard

    Todd Hochard Cinematographer

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    This is one of those obscurities that probably no one here will know, but I would-

    1. Call you local and/or state employment office and ask them.
    2. Have HR show you where it says that it HAS to be that way. "Because I said so" is the wrong answer, of course.
     
  3. D. Scott MacDonald

    D. Scott MacDonald Supporting Actor

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    Steve, I don't know the laws regarding any of this, but if you can whether the initial pay reduction you could be better off in the long run.

    For example, lets say that you earn $1000 / week and that you are out for three weeks. Taking the medical disability, you take a 25% cut for two weeks (I don't think that it kicks in for the first 5 days). This means that for those three weeks, your pay is $2500 instead of $3000 (which can cause a short term hardship).

    However, you get to keep three weeks of vacation which has a value of $3000 (even more if you get a raise). When you quite your job, you get paid for these three weeks so your overall take home is actually $2500 more by taking the disability. Of course your company may not rollover all of this vacation time, in which case you are actually forced to take some vacation instead of cashing it out, but I bet that you get to keep at least some of it.

    And I bet that if the $500 causes you a severe hardship that you can bum it off one of your lazy in-laws. [​IMG]
     
  4. Nathan_F

    Nathan_F Second Unit

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    Many companies are just the opposite. They require that you take all your vacation befoe going on disability. I don't know if the Family Medical Leave Act addresses the issue specifically, but I can't imagine it does into that detail. The main brunt of it is that the company cannot cut your job while you're on leave; or more to the point, they must have a job of equal pay and stature upon your return.
     
  5. Steve Ridges

    Steve Ridges Stunt Coordinator

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    Well, I talked to my insurance company and just as I thought, there is no way my company can get medical information about me without my written concent. I suppose that this means I could tell them I've decided to not have the procedure but am takeing the time off for personal reasons. I could then have the procedure without them knowing. I don't feel comfortable about this however. I'm an honest person and I don't feel I should have to lie. I'm also concerned about what could happen if they did find out somehow.

    I called my HR person back and talked to them some more. She claimed to have talked to her supervisor about my case and the company has decided to make an exception and allow me to cash out my vacation (I think they realized they were in the wrong here). This is the route I will probably go as I will end up ahead when combining the money from disability and my vaction.

    To top it all off, at the end she said they didn't want me cashing out all of my vaction. They thought I should keep some for the future. What is it with these people???
     
  6. Kirk Gunn

    Kirk Gunn Screenwriter

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    Another factor is that you pay income taxes on disability payments.... not a great deal.
     
  7. Patrick_S

    Patrick_S Producer
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    The surgery sounds like it is elective since you have been planning it for over a year, why did you feel compelled to tell your employer in the first place? As long as you will be able to fully perform your job duties when you get back it is NONE of their business.

    As far as them wanting you to save some vacation, I have no idea why they would take that stand. Most companies want to have as little vacation time on the books as possible because it is an accounting nightmare.

    Good luck.
     
  8. Todd Hochard

    Todd Hochard Cinematographer

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  9. Eric Kahn

    Eric Kahn Guest

    the family medical leave act requires companies (over a certain amount of employees) to give you up to 12 weeks of time off for medical problems and keep your job for you, it does not require them to pay you and they do not have to allow you to use your vacation or sick leave, they can force you to take it unpaid which is perfectly legal as long as you get your job back

    I have a Gov. job and we have been well informed on the family medical leave act
     

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