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 How can you overcome Adversity in the Workplace?

Written by Kevin Quinn

In a recent blog post, we spoke of a man named Bob. He has recently endured a situation involving health adversity in the workplace. Read more.

Bob was diagnosed with Pulmonary Hypertension in 2010. Pulmonary Hypertension is abnormally high blood pressure in the arteries of the lungs. It makes the right side of the heart work harder than normal. With that, Bob has a very difficult time breathing, which as a result leads him to fatigue. Bob has routine doctors appointments and tests that take all day to complete. Therefore, Bob takes paid time off (PTO) to subsidize his income.hope

About two months ago, Bob went for some tests at the hospital and explained the information to his boss via email and in person. Let me just preface that the tubes that Bob has extending from his nose, along with the oxygen tank that follows along with him is a pretty good indication that he is having some health issues.

Bob worked for a large company. Bob used most of his sick and vacation time to cover his time off instead of having to sacrifice any pay. To Bob’s surprise, soon after he returned from a “sick” day that he used to have tests done, he was told that the company is eliminating his position.

As an HR consulting firm, we were contacted by Bob’s wife to address some questions she and Bob had and asked VRC if they could find anything peculiar about the happenings that Bob encountered. If we did, what advice would we be able to offer.

First and foremost, we explained that we are not a law firm, however, having gone through this situation firsthand, Laurie went to visit Bob and his wife. During the visit, Laurie decided that fact-finding was the priority. Here are a few of the facts Laurie found:

  • Bob will be 60 years old in August.
  • The company employs more than 50 employees, which qualifies them to adhere to FMLA – Family Medical Leave Act.
  • June 3, 2014 – The two people Bob reports to told him he was being laid off, because they don’t have enough work to keep him busy.
  • Bob has been with the company 11 years.
  • HR never talked to Bob about FMLA or a medical leave of absence.
  • Bob sent an email about needing 3 days off for more tests.
  • The email was not acknowledged. Bob received a written special separation benefit letter as his termination letter.
  • The company offered Bob a severance package, but had never offered severance to anyone prior to Bob.
  • He is the only person being laid off.
  • HR terminated Bob via a phone call from another state.
  • Bob was forced to take a small severance that may last a month or two. The severance is not enough to cover his needed oxygen cost. Do you believe that?! He needs to pay for oxygen.
  • Bob only asked to work from home on two occasions since 2010 when he was too weak to go into the office.

What do you find wrong with this picture and what would you as the employer have done differently for Bob? Do you think the company is in violation of the American Disabilities Act?

Well, the family has decided not to pursue a lawsuit since Bob is waiting for a double lung transplant. The family is cautiously optimistic of receiving that phone call for Bob. However, in the meantime, they thought that enjoying the time they have with each other would be more beneficial than spending time with attorneys and courts to add additional stress to Bob’s situation.

Therefore, VRC has decided to create a fundraiser for Bob and his family to help raise money for the family to find joy in living while they are facing these challenges. At the same time, we hope to educate employers and employees on prevention workplace health adversity.

Please visit: https://fundly.com/bob-gardner-s-fundraiser#

We understand that funds may be tight. Therefore, any amount will do! Our end goal is $100,000.00 and we need your help. If you are unsure or don’t understand health adversity, please visit vrc-hr.com/blog to read more.