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Disability?
Old 02-05-2008, 03:04 PM   #1
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Disability?

Not sure if this is the right forum for this, but maybe some ERs are through disability. My son has diabetes and has lost vision in one eye. He is working. The company he works for had a layoff because of lack of work. Now people have been called back but he is told he cannot come back until he has signed doctor statement saying he can work. His doctor says it's not a problem and will give him the statement. My sons concern is that if the time comes to where he must go on disability will this statement be used against him. He is also thinking the company might let him go, and with the statement they would be covered as far as later disability. It doesn't seem like they could make him produce proof he can work when that wasn't the reason for layoff and nobody else has to. He is in the state of Michigan. I told him to call Mi Employment commision. Any thoughts?
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Old 02-05-2008, 04:36 PM   #2
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It doesn't seem like they could make him produce proof he can work when that wasn't the reason for layoff and nobody else has to.
I agree that this doesn't seem quite right. Perhaps you're inadvertantly leaving out part of the story. Why is the company aware of his medical situation? Had he taken and returned from a MLOA before the lack of work LO? Or, did he convert, or try to convert, his current LO status to MLOA while he has been off? Is he being called back to the same job he was LO'd from or a different job? Did he apply for and receive any special accomodations for the job he was doing prior to the layoff?
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Old 02-05-2008, 10:54 PM   #3
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The company is aware of his condition because, he has had to have surgery on his eyes from the diabetic condition. He started work about 7 years ago for them with diabetes. Since then the surgery was needed. Even though he lost vision in one eye he has continued working as before, no problems as far as performing his job.
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Old 02-06-2008, 12:00 AM   #4
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The company is aware of his condition because, he has had to have surgery on his eyes from the diabetic condition. He started work about 7 years ago for them with diabetes. Since then the surgery was needed. Even though he lost vision in one eye he has continued working as before, no problems as far as performing his job.
Well, I can only speculate based on the information given. My comments are based on experience in Illinois and from management's point of view.

A doctor's letter certifying his physical ability to perform his job wouldn't normally be part of a recall from LO. However, since he was off on a MLOA for surgery prior to the LO, the request for the letter may be related to his clearance to work following the MLOA. Since diabetes can be progressive, perhaps they have a provision for periodic verification that performing his job isn't detrimental to his health.

If he requires some accomodation to do his job, or other jobs at the company, they may be looking for an OK to recall him to work with no accomodation. Or they may be looking for information on what the accomodation would be for the job opening they might have for him now.

As far as your son's concerns, while I wouldn't put anything past employers these days, it would seem they already have a verification of his good health obtained from him when he returned from the MLOA related to his eye surgery. I'm not sure what getting a more recent update accomplishes for them other than what I mentioned above. Your son's ability to qualify for disability benefits in the future would be based on medical analysis of his condition at that time.

I assume he is non-union. But, is he exempt or non-exempt?

Your suggestion that he talk to the Michigan Employment Commission is good. I'd also suggest he talk to HR and simply ask for an explanation for their request that he provide the doctor's letter. Maybe he'll be pleasantly surprised that there are no unsavory motives. We can hope so anyway.

Good luck to him.
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Old 02-06-2008, 12:06 AM   #5
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Old 02-06-2008, 07:51 AM   #6
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What is meant by " I assume he is non-union. But, is he exempt or non-exempt?
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Old 02-06-2008, 08:57 AM   #7
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What is meant by " I assume he is non-union. But, is he exempt or non-exempt?
I was trying to get a handle on his available resources and status/protections under Michigan's labor laws.

Since you didn't mention whether he was a union member or not, I assumed he was not.

Exempt means exempt from certain provisions of a states's labor laws. Most people who are in exempt status are considered part of a company's management.
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Old 02-06-2008, 05:05 PM   #8
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He is not a union member and not management.
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Old 02-06-2008, 06:16 PM   #9
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Youbet's response is what I would have said as well -- and I'm in Michigan, by the way.

I doubt that any current letter would/could be used against him in the future as any future decision would be based on the then-current facts. For now, his employer is probably trying to figure out where best to place him in light of a known disability. In a manufacturing environment for example, there are likely safety issues involved.

His human resources contact should be able to explain their rationale and the advice to contact the MI Unemployment Commission is sound.
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