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May 3, 2012 6:55 AM Subscribe
What is my best option when my girlfriend who had a stroke less than a month ago was abruptly terminated by her company?
posted by anonymous to Law & Government (16 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Hi. I'm not necessarily looking for legal advice or answers, just direction. I will try and make this succinct as possible.
On the morning of Tuesday April 10th my girlfriend drove herself to the ER with complaints of horrible abdominal pains. They were having great trouble figuring out what exactly was wrong. She was in the ER for most of the day and later that night was admitted. I believe at first they were leaning towards blood clot (she had flown back from Europe recently) and consequently didn't treat her pain as much as they could have. On the afternoon of Wednesday April 11th her pain increased, she had back and leg spasms, leg numbness and horrible pain in head, neck and back and she was moved to ICU. I drove up at 3:30a Thursday morning. Turns out she had a bleed inside her head, no blood in the brain tissue, but blood in sub-arachnoid, ventricular and cerebral spinal fluid. (Apologies if my medical words aren't accurate enough, I'm working from memory)
Doctors decided not to operate because of possible complications but instead let her body absorb the blood because she didn't have an active brain bleed when they "scanned" her. She was in ICU for 7 days (all about pain management and monitoring vitals), then about another week in the regular hospital (her body absorbed the blood) and is now in a rehab facility. When she moved to rehab we didn't have any definite time frame on how all of this was going to pain out but I personally was throwing around 2 months in my mind and that was assuming she got better. She has eyesight issues, numbness issues, strength issues, cognitive issues, etc. the whole kit and kaboodle.
Throughout all of this it appeared her company was being supportive. They tried to get the information to get her on short term disability right away. They pushed the insurance company to have her do rehab as close to me and her family as possible (she lives 2 hours away).
This week (after 3 days of actual therapy) on the same day she received her short term disability paperwork, she also received a notice from the company that she was being terminated for using company funds for personal purchases. Because of this she is no longer going to be getting her short term disability and her health insurance.
I don't know whether this personal purchases thing actually happened or not. In speaking with friends/family I found out that her father (who died of a stroke before he reached 50) had basically quit taking care of any financial things (depositing paychecks, paying bills, etc) in the few months before he passed. Do people who are stroke prone quit thinking clearly? I'm assuming anything's feasible but I don't know anything about the details of their case against her or her state of mind leading up to her hospitalization.
She has told me that the head of HR hates her because she (my gf) has been pushing for HR to be handled in a more professional manner and I know the CEO of the company started a long vacation when they returned from overseas. To my way of thinking this excuses nothing on her part.
I haven't decided what my ultimate course of action is going to be from a personal standpoint but as of now I told them I would help find a lawyer for them. At first I thought the right type of lawyer would be an employment lawyer because if there is no merit to what has happened then she is being given the shaft. On the other hand if it's even slightly accurate then it seems like an employment lawyer would not be appropriate because they had cause for firing her and the issue with these funds needs to be addressed. Her mom and I have discussed restitution if the allegations are true.
So do we choose a lawyer based on the assumption of innocence (employment lawyer), straight guilt (embezzlement lawyer?), complicated guilt (not being in her right mind) or something else that I'm not thinking of. I don't think my girlfriend is in the right mind to make any decisions about this at this time so, we her boyfriend and family, are trying to do the right thing.
If we pick a lawyer will he/she gather information and, if needed, properly decide "wait, i'm the wrong type of lawyer for you" and get them pointed to someone who is a better fit?
I've spent some time looking at the local Bar Association web site and I'm overwhelmed. I'm just trying to be impartial and do the best I can given the circumstances.