Was I illegally terminated with regards to oncology?
March 10, 2017 8:14 AM   Subscribe

My melanoma has metastasized to my brain and I will be undergoing both gamma knife/SRS and neurosurgery. I was on a six-month contract-to-hire assignment with a Fortune 500 company and "released" after three months because of the uncertainty surrounding my schedule and availability. Was I wrongfully or illegally terminated? Do I have legal recourse? Snowflakes after the jump...


Details: I live in Texas. I'm a software developer. I was on an hourly W-2 six-month contract-to-hire assignment through a technical recruiting agency. Benefits, including health insurance, were provided through the recruiting agency.

After sharing my diagnosis with the management hierarchy, I was assured that it wasn't a problem and that I could be re-tasked with items that could be completed as I was able to work on them. The following day, I received a call from the account representative at the recruiting agency letting me know the client company had elected to terminate my agreement, leaving me unemployed and with no insurance (COBRA paperwork is in the works). My initial peering into the Americans with Disabilities Act seems to indicate that the client company acted in violation of the law, but I'm still missing details. I have reached out to an employment attorney and I'm waiting a return call to schedule an initial consultation.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'm a lawyer, I am not your lawyer. There could be a case here of disability discrimination. You need to contact a lawyer on this.

Try the Texas Employment Lawyer's Association
posted by Ironmouth at 8:19 AM on March 10, 2017 [11 favorites]

It really, really depends. The rules are arcane and not always obvious. "Reasonable accommodation" varies a lot. You've reached out to an attorney and unfortunately, you will just have to wait until you're able to have consultations with that attorney (and feel free to seek a second opinion... this won't be 100% cut-and-dry).
posted by brainmouse at 8:21 AM on March 10, 2017 [2 favorites]

I'm sorry about your diagnosis.

It's great that you've contacted an employment attorney! That's where you're going to get a truly useful answer to your question. That said, if you haven't already done so, the American Cancer Society has a nice page about the ADA that you might find helpful.

Good luck with everything.
posted by schroedingersgirl at 8:37 AM on March 10, 2017

IANYL. This is going to be tricky. The Fortune 500 company may or may not be deemed to be your employer (as opposed to the agency). They may possibly also argue that you are an independent contractor, not an employee.

Consult an attorney, and do not dally. Failure to file a complaint with the EEOC within a very limited period may affect your ability to recover.
posted by praemunire at 8:49 AM on March 10, 2017 [2 favorites]

Additional advice: Consider starting an application for SSDI now. You may not be able to work in the future given your diagnosis and you will likely benefit from some kind of income. These applications take time to process.

I'm really sorry you're going through this.
posted by latkes at 9:39 AM on March 10, 2017 [12 favorites]

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