A man who underwent back surgery and wanted to use his long-term disability benefits to fully recover from his operation has filed a wrongful termination suit against Comcast because the company threatened to fire the man if he used the full extent of his disability benefits. Feeling pressured to return to work because of incessant pressure from his employer, the man did not get a chance to fully use his long-term disability benefits and recover from his operation.
The man who filed the lawsuit worked for Time Warner and its successor company Comcast for ten years in Houston, Texas. The man had back surgery in the summer of 2007 and was required to be away from work for a recovery period of at least six months. After the six month recovery time period additional time was needed for physical therapy according to the lawsuit.
The man was approved for short-term disability for the back surgery; however, after being away from work for only four months his employer asked him to return to work. The employer further informed the man that if he did not return immediately he would be fired from his position. The man did not want to lose job and convinced his doctor to allow him to return to work. The man’s doctor “released him to light duty,” according to the suit.
Alan Olson writes this web-log to provide helpful information regarding long-term disability cases. He practices long-term disability law throughout the United States from his offices in New Berlin, Wisconsin. Attorney Olson may be contacted at [email protected] with questions about the information posted here or for advice on specific disability benefit claims.
The man performed office work for a period of time before returning to work in the field for Comcast. The lawsuit says the man never fully recovered from his back operation because of his early return to work. In June 2009, almost one year later, the man had to have another back surgery and had to take disability leave time again. Again, during this time period his supervisor at Comcast asked when his return would be. As time passed the frequency and intensity of the inquiries grew.
In October 2009, the man’s supervisor began threatening to fire him if he did not return to work. The suit says the man experienced discrimination, harassment and retaliation when he went back to work. He was fired in December 2009. According to the lawsuit the man had to use his retirement account to pay for house payments and living expenses and had to personally pay medical expenses he would not have had to have paid if his employment with Comcast continued.
Source: The Southeast Texas Record, “Texas City man claims he was terminated by Comcast for taking disability leave,” John Suayan, 4/14/11