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Fired Due To Ptsd...should I Get A Lawyer?


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#1 Loose Cannon

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Posted 21 February 2011 - 12:23 PM

I need advice...and I'll try to keep this short. I was recently fired from my job after a meeting with my employer where I made him aware that I was suffering from PTSD. I am a 20-year honorably discharged retired Marine- retired in 2004, VA diagnosed with PTSD in 2005. A few days ago, I received a "severence package" in the mail. Basically, they are offering me about $2800 to keep my mouth shut (no speaking to the press, other employees, etc.) regarding my termination. They put all this in writing and gave me 3 weeks to accept it. The problem is that if I sign and return it I will also be waiving my legal right to sue. Fact is they knew I was receiving treatment for PTSD and fired me anyways...Isn't this illegal? Do I need to see a lawyer, show him their "proposed" severence package, and sue them or am I wasting my time. I really could use some good advice here. Can anyone relate or help?

#2 jbasser

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Posted 21 February 2011 - 02:05 PM

Get the letter to an attorney asap.

J

#3 Pete53

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Posted 21 February 2011 - 03:48 PM

You need an attorney. Don't delay.

#4 carlie

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Posted 21 February 2011 - 03:59 PM

LC,
Don't signed a danged thing yet.
You will probably need legal representation from a firm that
handles EEOC and ADA claims.
I've sent a shout out to one of our members that can probably
provide some accurate guidance for your situation.

#5 Gulfvet45

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Posted 21 February 2011 - 04:30 PM

Get a GOOD lawyer!!!! copy everything they sent.



I need advice...and I'll try to keep this short. I was recently fired from my job after a meeting with my employer where I made him aware that I was suffering from PTSD. I am a 20-year honorably discharged retired Marine- retired in 2004, VA diagnosed with PTSD in 2005. A few days ago, I received a "severence package" in the mail. Basically, they are offering me about $2800 to keep my mouth shut (no speaking to the press, other employees, etc.) regarding my termination. They put all this in writing and gave me 3 weeks to accept it. The problem is that if I sign and return it I will also be waiving my legal right to sue. Fact is they knew I was receiving treatment for PTSD and fired me anyways...Isn't this illegal? Do I need to see a lawyer, show him their "proposed" severence package, and sue them or am I wasting my time. I really could use some good advice here. Can anyone relate or help?



#6 NSA-Saigon-ET

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Posted 21 February 2011 - 06:00 PM

I need advice...and I'll try to keep this short. I was recently fired from my job after a meeting with my employer where I made him aware that I was suffering from PTSD. I am a 20-year honorably discharged retired Marine- retired in 2004, VA diagnosed with PTSD in 2005. A few days ago, I received a "severence package" in the mail. Basically, they are offering me about $2800 to keep my mouth shut (no speaking to the press, other employees, etc.) regarding my termination. They put all this in writing and gave me 3 weeks to accept it. The problem is that if I sign and return it I will also be waiving my legal right to sue. Fact is they knew I was receiving treatment for PTSD and fired me anyways...Isn't this illegal? Do I need to see a lawyer, show him their "proposed" severence package, and sue them or am I wasting my time. I really could use some good advice here. Can anyone relate or help?


Well, you have not stated if you were fired with cause. If you look at the termination papers they should give their reasons for the termination. Many states, like Texas, have a right to work set of laws, which basically means you can be fired for any reason or no reason at all. Other states have more protection for the average joe. In any case, it is very hard to sue a former employer and win unless you have some pretty good evidence you can use.

I am not an attorney, but do suffer from PTSD. I worked many years in the high tech arena and have lost many jobs because of my PTSD. Absolutely none of the positions that I was asked to leave ever cited my PTSD as a reason. The fact that they are offering you a severance package speaks pretty good for the firm these days.

The choice is yours and I wish you luck in the future. (PTSD is a gift from your service that keeps on giving!)

Edited by NSA-Saigon-ET, 21 February 2011 - 06:15 PM.


#7 Hoppy

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Posted 21 February 2011 - 06:15 PM

they knew I was receiving treatment for PTSD and fired me anyways...Isn't this illegal?



The fact that you are receiving treatment does not disallow them from firing you. It depends on the specifics. If there were previous behaviors that you feel were caused by your PTSD that you engaged in at work that created a hostile work environment or resulted in your not being able to perform your job duties there could easily be cause for termination. The fact that you feel the behaviors were caused by PTSD does not mean they are required to accept your opinion. However, if they are terminating you because they feel there is an implied risk keeping an individual diagnosed with PTSD on their staff then they are asking for a wrongful termination suit.



Check on the Americans With Disabilities Act. Find out if the employer is large enough to be required to comply with the ADA. Also, find out who is handling the charges under the ADA. It used to be the EEOC.



If they terminated you without telling you a specific reason then getting an attorney might be the only way to find out why they terminated your employment. I would not pay any significant advance fees to the attorney. When I went through this I found an attorney who accepted the claim on a fee/contingency basis. I was terminated because the employer did not want a person who was disabled working in the department that I was in. The employer later ammended the cause for termination. I spent six months battling the employer under the ADA and did not get a dime. The EEOC ruled that the employer did not violate any laws when terminating my employment.



In this state misconduct at work usually disqualifies an individual for unemployment insurance. Talk to your doctor and file either for unemployment insurance or state disability insurance. If your doctor feels your PTSD caused your termination you should be eligible for state disability insurance. It depends on what state you are in.





#8 Chuck75

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Posted 21 February 2011 - 06:28 PM

In addition to what others have said - - firing a veteran for a service connected disability is cause for an employer to be barred from government contracts.
I'd also suggest that you get a lawyer asap. $2800 seems quite low, however that may depend on a variety of other factors, such as how long you worked for the company, rate of pay, etc.
There is quite a variance between states as to labor law. The state I live in is an "at will" state, meaning an employer can fire without reason at any time.


I need advice...and I'll try to keep this short. I was recently fired from my job after a meeting with my employer where I made him aware that I was suffering from PTSD. I am a 20-year honorably discharged retired Marine- retired in 2004, VA diagnosed with PTSD in 2005. A few days ago, I received a "severence package" in the mail. Basically, they are offering me about $2800 to keep my mouth shut (no speaking to the press, other employees, etc.) regarding my termination. They put all this in writing and gave me 3 weeks to accept it. The problem is that if I sign and return it I will also be waiving my legal right to sue. Fact is they knew I was receiving treatment for PTSD and fired me anyways...Isn't this illegal? Do I need to see a lawyer, show him their "proposed" severence package, and sue them or am I wasting my time. I really could use some good advice here. Can anyone relate or help?



#9 john999

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Posted 21 February 2011 - 06:35 PM

Was this a private or public employer? Big difference if it was a public employer!!!

#10 Berta

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Posted 24 February 2011 - 09:32 AM

YOU BET!

As Hoppy said:

"Check on the Americans With Disabilities Act. Find out if the employer is large enough to be required to comply with the ADA. Also, find out who is handling the charges under the ADA. It used to be the EEOC."



My husband won the first ADA case here in New York.
I did all of the legal work for him.I filed the case the very same day that ADA became law.

It wasn't a case of being fired however- it was a federal contractor bound by not only the ADA EEOC but also the regulations in 38 2012/2014 as to hiring and retaining disabled veterans.The company had laid him and others off and then did a recall without calling him back.

We had extensive documentation generated by complaints he had filed under the Vocational Rehabilitation Act with the Department of Labor.

I used FOIA a lot and got,by accident in the FOIA response , a very sensitive internal document that proved the company had discriminated against him on the recall by referencing manifestations of his PTSD.The document said he had gotten abusive and violent with a co worker.
FOIA only works with the federal Gov but this employer,due to his multiple discrimination complaints filed with the DOL,and their responses, was part of the DOL packet I received under FOIA.

In other types of employment you could use the Privacy Act to request any documents they have regarding this termination.I cant guarantee if they will honor a Privacy ACt request but a lawyer could get what they have.

He told me the charge of violent behavior was not true and that his excellent performance appraisals showed that.I certainly believed my husband as he had fought them for 3 years via DOL to even get hired.Their hiring record of disabled veterans was below one % of all new hires in a 6 year period.(one hired -1 % and then this vet left the company r got fired ???- less than 1 %)

I called the woman whose signature was on the critical document and she said she didn't even know who he was and denied the statement

Still the statement indicated he had created a "hostile' environment when the reality was the company had created a hostile environment by failing to recall him.

They had to make a cash settlement under ADA. They could not recall him however as he had suffered since this case began a Section 1151 38 USC stroke due to VA malpractice.

Loose Cannons case is similiar to that of a Navy Seal I know.He worked for the same federal contractor my husband did.His leg had been blown off in a river maneuver in Vietnam. They knew he was a disabled veteran.What they didn't know was he also had PTSD.For some reason his VA shrink told him to share that info with his employer. He did and they canned him with a trumped up sexual harrassment charge.

He was unwilling to obtain a lawyer and he should have as he was months away from 20 year retirement with this company when they canned him. I helped him prepare the legal EEOC papers and we even got to the point that they were going to dispose him.They would not let me attend the deposition because I am not a lawyer but I told him what to expect and we went over the case for hours the day before the deposition.

He never showed up for the deposition and lost by default.

These cases unless you have a strong legal background yourself- DEFINITELY require a lawyer.

There is plenty of info on the net regarding unlawful termination and the regs that apply to federal gov and federal contractors or any employer falling under the ADA.

An Employment discrimination lawyer might give you an assessment of your chances and a tenative fee via their site.I would think they might take a case on contingency.

Meantime you might want to obtain a copy of your personnel file.

"Fact is they knew I was receiving treatment for PTSD and fired me anyways...Isn't this illegal?"

They had to have good cause to terminate you.That statement does not give us enough info to know if it was illegal.

Edited by Berta, 24 February 2011 - 09:43 AM.