25 answers

Seek Advice After Being Terminated from My Job Due to Having Surgery

I am seeking moral support and advice for a touchy subject. Last Thursday I went to the Dr for severe pains in my right abdomen and was told I have a 10cm and a 4cm cyst on my right ovary. The doctor gave me meds to try and shrink the cyst and to follow up in one week. Yesterday I had my f/u visit and was told I would need surgery ASAP to remove the cyst and my right ovary because they were twisting my ovary and restricting my intestines.This means I would have to been cut open instead of the laparoscopic procedure normally done. Upon returning to work , I informed my employer of the need to be out for surgery and for 4-6 weeks there after. This morning when I got to work, I was handed a check for 2wks pay and told I was being terminated today. I was/am shocked. I have never been in trouble at work and have performed my job duties to my utmost ability. What should I do about the way I'm being treated? I am so afraid that my insurance will be terminated before my 6/27 surgery date. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

What can I do next?

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The only advice I have for you is to seek legal help. What they have done is wrong. I hope you are able to get everything worked out.

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FMLA will apply if your employer has at least 50 employees employed within 75 miles of the worksite and if you have been employed for at least 12 months and have worked at least 1,250 hours during the immediately preceding 12-month period.
If you are part-time, a new employee or work for a small business, your employer may have the right to end your employment. What is legal is often not right. You should be offered COBRA to continue your health insurance for several months. You will also qualify to change to the health insurance offered at your husband's workplace under HIPAA. Keep any letter received from your former employer and health insurance. You will need this to change to any other health plan and cover your pre-existing condition.

Good Luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Get a lawyer !!!!! That is absolutely absurd and i'm furious for you. I'm sure there are laws governing these kind of thing, find out, protect yourself!!

1 mom found this helpful

The only advice I have for you is to seek legal help. What they have done is wrong. I hope you are able to get everything worked out.

Get yourself a lawyer honey.

I'm sorry to hear about all this! I don't think you can be fired for needing surgery. There is a Family Medical Leave Act that says employers have to let employees take up to 12 weeks off for medical reasons (http://www.dol.gov/esa/whd/fmla/).

Where do you work?? That site has some legal fine print details on the Act. I guess there is a small chance your workplace isn't included in the law. I would definitely look into this though. Ask your HR department about the Family Medical Leave Act (or if you have records of your benefits it might be listed there). Speak to a lawyer if you have to!

Good luck and let us know what happens!

I would seek unemployment as well as an attorney. There is a law that allows you 12 months of leave (without pay) called family medical leave (FMLA). Check into it.if you get the chance, although it may be useless unless you plan to fight it.
Good Luck!

An employer can not terminate you based on a medical excuse. That is what the Family and Medical Leave act is to protect. Actually you could be off for up to 12 weeks without being terminated. Personally, I would try to talk to your boss and then talk to an attorney.

Contact Labor Relations and then possibly an attorney. Labor Relations should be able to tell you what they can and cannot do. I believe this is totally illegal. Please check it out and pursue it.

I am sorry to here of getting fired from your job that is just way crazy.. On the other hand i had the same surgery done back in Dec my baby was 9 months old and i was told mine was cancer.. But any way the doc told me i would be out for 4-6 weeks but i was back at it in 2 weeks.. the first cpl of days was when i hurt the most but the rest was just tryin to keep from bustin back open.. The only Down side i have had since the surgery is when it's time to start my little friend every month my left side hurts to no end and the doc said it's cause where theres nothing on the right side no more the left ovary has to work double time.. You need to call a att. and talk to them cause i dont see how they can fire for this.. Good luck and if ya have any questions about the surgery feel free to let me know i live in nashville Tn

I'm sorry about your situation. I know it must be stressful. Let me just throw out a few things to think about. First, maybe your employer felt you were taking advantage of the situation and asking for more time off than necessary. I'm having a cyst removed laproscopically and expect to be back at work in a few days. Maybe he didn't understand the extent of what you are having done and why you need to be off that long. Of course he should have discussed this with you instead of making assumptions. Second, it's my understanding that insurance is in effect for at least thirty days after you leave a job; however, I would discuss it with the personnel department if you can. Also, you might want to talk to the insurance company. Once it has been diagnosed and sugery scheduled with insurance, maybe they are under some obligation to cover it regardless. Another idea is to explain the situation to your doctor and ask him to move up the surgery date. Considering the way this company has treated you in this situation, you will probably be much better off somewhere else. Good Luck.


Be careful with some of the information you have. Though some correct information has been given, there may be some restrictions/applicability issues. You should consult an attorney to determine which protections apply to you.

Though, as some posters have said, Alabama is an employee at will state, it is illegal for an employer to terminate employment due to an employee taking leave pursuant to the FMLA.

The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides 12 weeks of unpaid leave to qualifying employees who need time off from work to care for their own or an immediate family member's serious health condition. This allows for continued medical benefits and restoration of their original position upon return. An employee is eligible when they:

Have worked for the same employer for the previous 12 months
Have worked at least 1,250 hours in the previous 12 months
Are employed by a "covered" employer, which is:
All federal, state, and local governments and agencies
Private employers with 50 or more employees for 20 weeks in the calendar year and engaged in interstate commerce
An injury or illness qualifies as a "serious health condition" if it either requires an overnight stay in a medical facility or constitutes "continuing treatment" by a health-care provider. Continuing treatment requires either the employee's incapacity for more than three calendar days and at least two subsequent treatments or treatment by a health-care provider that results in continuing supervised treatment.

As virtually everyone else has noted, you really should consult an attorney.

I'm sorry to hear about your illness and your job loss! I had the same thing to happen (ovarian cyst to rupture etc)to me a few years back and was fired (it seems that my former employer didn't need me to take off from work and desided to permanently replace me since I couldn't)....I checked with an attorney and was told that Alabama is a right to work state meaning, you have the right to work and terminate your job and your employer has the right to terminate your job without cause. You should be able to get your unemployment benefits until you return to work and you qualify for COBRAA. Good luck!


FMLA depends on the size of you Company. Check with the labor board. If possible contact an attorney. Make sure your previous employer sends you a Cobra Notice. You will have to pay what you were paying plus what Your employer was paying which is usually 50%. So Double what you were paying before is usually the cost. If he does not send you this information, see an attorney. Companies have lost Billions of dollars in Court for not offering Cobra or sending a notice. (Even if you don't elect it.) You can stay on Cobra for 18 months if your company employee's over 20 full-time employees. If not you can have state continuation for 3 months. Good Luck.

Go to the Labor board in your state and seek there advice. They will know more about the state laws there. It's amazing how many employers will backpeddle if the labor board gets on them. You can do this even if you are not covered under FMLA. Good Luck


I am very sorry for the troubles you are having, both health-wise and at work. Having been a Human Resources Director for 15+ years, I'd like to refer you to the advice that Andrea C gave you, as it's the most accurate. If you are not sure if you are covered under FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act), please call your labor board or the EEOC (Equal Employment Commission) in your area and advise them of your situation; they will be able to let you know your options. If you have been terminated illegally, they will review your situation and help you. In the meantime, if your insurance is terminated before your surgery, COBRA is definitely an option, although quite expensive.

Please keep us updated on your situation.


law suite

by law your company can give you 12 weeks off a year (with out ppay) this is called FMLA (family med. leave) i would get all my ducks in a row and then tell the boss what you found out. because that is grounds for a law suite.

good luck and don't take it

I would contact a Lawyer ASAP!!! And I believe they are to offer you COBRA which will allow you to have your insurance out of your pocket of course.

I would definately call a couple Lawyers asap and see what they think!!!

Best of Luck and let us know what happend.

Check your policies at your old job. If they have a stipulation that states you can be terminated with out cause then you do not have a leg to stand on, but I am pretty sure you can file unemployement and I would check with a lawyer on this one. Depending on how big the company is, they may fight you big time. But you must decide is all that worth it to you? You can look into Cobra health insurance, it is pricy but better than paying for surgery out of pocket.

There is a federal law called the Family Medical Leave Act. You need to get in touch with an employment lawyer OR the EEOC for information on the legality of them terminating you for needing to have medical leave for surgery.

I don't know all the specifics of your situation, but from what you wrote, this is highly illegal.

I would contact a lawyer that deals with wrongful termination. If you have not been in trouble at work for anything and have not missed work due to just not going to work I think you would have a case against them. Your health insurance should still be in affect. Also you need to check on the Cobra for the insurance. That is when you keep the insurance but you have to pay the premium.
God Bless

W., Get a Lawyer immediately. Depending on how big your company is terminating you without reason is illegal. You can keep your insurance through CODA, it is expensive but not as bad as having to pay the hospital bills.

Most lawyer's do a free consultation (don't choose one who doesn't) to see if you have a case.

I wish you the best this was a rotten thing for them to do.

I would call a lawyer if I were you. By law if you have been there a certain amount of time they have to give you FMLA. Some companies have disability pay for just such things. You can sometimes get a percent of your weekly income. But if you have never been in trouble and dont have excessive problem with being out then I would call a lawyer. FMLA is to protect people who have to be out for surgery, having a baby, even adopting a baby. All unpaid of course. Most lawyers will give a free consultation and tell you what your options are. Good luck with surgery and your job. A.

W., I am so sorry to hear of your cyst and really sorry about your job. I agree with most responses that you should ask an attorney. Most attorneys will let you meet with them for free the first time and if he thinks you have a case then go for it. Some attorneys will not make you pay until they win the case. You may get some money out of it. However, on the other side, the employer can make up something and lie. Just ask the attorney what to do.
Now on a better not. You said that you have a 5yo son. How would you like to stay home with him and work. I sell Arbonne and this company is really great. You can work on the internet, talk to people one on one and get them to use the products, have get togethers with friends and explain or sample the products, and we have a teen line where you can give teen parties for birthdays and give them a make over. Once you get so much volume under you, you become a district manager and that will give you a pay check of about $1500 to $2000 / month. Ask for referrals, and talk one on one, meet people at the park, at McDonald, at the dr office, church, anywhere you go. Just get out and get the word out and it doens't take very long to get up a business. After you pass district manager, you volume goes up and your pay is higher and Arbonne gives you a company car (white mercedes of your choice). The woman that got me into it is making close to $20,000 a month now. So I know it can be done. And you are just the right age to get into this and get started.
Just think about it. It would be a wonderful alternative for you and I agree with one of the responses. If you were treated that way, you are probably better off without that company anyway. So why drive in traffic, why get up in the mornings, why take your son to day care every day, why punch a time clock????
Nothing is easy and nothing is free. It will take some determination on your part and talking and visiting. You can do it and you would be so much better off.
Think about it and if you would like for me to help you get started or just want to talk about it, write me at:

visit my sites at: www.clearcomplexions.myarbonne.com
I can help you get where you want to be with such a better life.

I would seek legal advice for this. I don't think you can be fired just because you are having to have surgery. But ultimately, this is your life in question here and rather than die I would much rather look for a new job later. I would also check on the "grounds for termination of job" before I took a job with another employer. About your insurance-all insurance companies are different and I would check on that pronto. If your employer fired you unjustly you may not ever have to work again! Good luck!

Did you sign any separation notice and if so what was the reason for the termination? Sometimes your insurance will end on the day of termination and sometimes on the last day of the month depending on the employer. After surgery i would consider checking with an attorney. That is easy to say but the process of it all would probably be very stressful. But it is not right what they did to you. And severance pay of 2 weeks, could have made it 4-6 weeks. I am upset for you..

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