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Well, as promised, here's a diary posting the end result of my round with Human Resources, my bosses, and the entire convoluted situation I posted the last time.  It turned out far better then  I anticipated.  Follow below the link for the details.

(And for those dear readers just joining us, the byzantine background of this mess can be found here: (Losing my job in the worst possible way)

The lawyer's meeting turned out to be quite disappointing, mostly because I made a fatal mistake right at the beginning of this job: I didn't inform everyone involved in writing of my disabilities after I was hired on.  That's a lesson I'm going to be taking to heart in future employment, because it gives me a layer of protection I did not have here.  If they fired me, they were well within Michigan law, and in fact, the lawyer expected that fire me they would after I failed to attend the first meeting.

Instead, they offered another meeting this last Tuesday.  I took it without hesitation, and showed up dressed in my best, taking detailed notes.  The only people in that meeting were my Big Boss, his admin assistant, me, and the HR person.  The meeting was very simple: they read the complaints against me ("odd vibes", inappropriate behavior, and the one loss of cool with the administrative assistant).  I answered them as best as I could, and re-informed them of my disabilities.  Perhaps the most amusing part of it came when the HR person actually asked how the University could best accommodate my disabilities.

I told them, "I know it's a pithy thing to say, but not firing me would be a really good start."

Apparently someone took that to heart, because today, the results finally came in:

I'm not fired.
I'm not laid off - yet.
My suspension is paid.
I get a written warning (which means next time I go off, I will be fired).
I go back to work tomorrow.
If they can't find a new workspace/lab for me, my work here comes to and end, but it would have to be a layoff - that gives me 30 days' warning, an extra paycheck, and unemployment.

At worst, I get a compromise - a layoff sooner then anticipated, but still a layoff, not a firing.  I bought myself some time and am no longer bleeding money.

May not be as good as some giant settlement and never having to work again, or a promise of a new job, but honestly, I think it's the best I could have done under the circumstances, and I'm damned happy about it.

Now, off to celebrate.

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Comment Preferences

  •  So glad to hear that (14+ / 0-)

    you aregoing back to work tomorrow.  I hope things work out with your boss and the administrative asst. (who will doubtless have a shoulder chip now.)  

    Only suggestion - be sure to check there has been no lapse in your insurance coverage.  If there has been, request that your employer have it reinstated retroactively.  They can do that.

    Good luck!

    The truth always matters.

    by texasmom on Thu May 16, 2013 at 03:11:45 PM PDT

  •  good to hear that things might patch up... (6+ / 0-)

    ...but if I were you, after all that crap, I'd start looking for a new job immediately. Even if you can keep your job, it seems like this has been a lot of bad blood.  

    The best time to look for a good job is when you have some job and aren't desperate (assuming you have time left in the day....)

  •  Oh, whew. I've been wondering. ;) (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ER Doc, ArchTeryx

    This is about the best outcome under the circumstances. Good for you! Celebration is indeed in order. Thanks for the update.

    Some DKos series & groups worth your while: Black Kos, Native American Netroots, KosAbility, Monday Night Cancer Club. If you'd like to join the Motor City Kossacks, send me a Kosmail.

    by peregrine kate on Thu May 16, 2013 at 03:50:55 PM PDT

  •  Over supply of STEM workers like you (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lunachickie, ER Doc, jbsoul, JerryNA, ArchTeryx

    is a terrible problem. The massive influx of H-1Bs is not helpful. We need jobs in the US for Americans.

    It makes every Ph.D. in the biological sciences have a long and difficult apprenticeship period, called the post-doc process. And for those who persist in the post-doc phase, getting to the tenure track is difficult. Many medical schools today do not have tenure, or have a tenure position track and a research position track.

    I wish you well. I am in the medical research field.

    •  Yeah, tell me about it. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ER Doc, Odysseus

      Only thing I dreaded more then being fired, quite honestly, was going back on the job market.  While not getting fired is nothing but good, it's still a big red flag that I can't put off job hunting any more.

      •  I have searched for a position (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ArchTeryx, ER Doc, Odysseus

        on three occasions. In each case, I slightly changed my orientation. I am a methods person, not a substantive person. Despite my age (61), I have had a job in medical research for 25 years with 1 year of non-employment. I never got tenure, and never will. I currently make good money.

        In my center, a non-academic medical research center in the midwest, a group was recently cut. They all looked for jobs, and found them after a year or so. The center gave the group 18 months, and that has been adequate, I think.

        Immediately begin searching all the job boards. Look at some of the non-academic patient and disease groups as well. Look at the Gates Foundation.

        Do you have any policy credentials?

        Have you considered the NIH in the SRO role? I know many who work there.

        •  Interesting background! (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ER Doc, JerryNA, Odysseus

          One of the alternates I've been looking at is Quality Control work, since I'm extremely detail-oriented, have GLP training, and can write very good protocols.

          Not being a tenured researcher I can live with.  I just want a decent paying job that lasts longer then 1-2 friggin' years, so I can marry my sweetheart and we can start a life together.

          Sadly, I don't have any policy credentials.  Being a political hobbyist probably isn't going to impress anyone, for that, you need internships and I'm just too old to go back for more unpaid or underpaid training.  Not after 15+ years of it.

          My postdoc actually was WITH the NIH; I'm not sure what you're referring do by "SRO".

          I've been mostly ignoring the job boards, mostly because of the huge number of fake listings and extreme odds of even the real ones leading to a job.  I've been trying to network instead.

          And finally?  The Gates Foundation actually paid for this position.  It wasn't NIH funded.  But it was a 1-year grant, unlike the NIH 5-year grants.

      •  But I totally totally totally oppose (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JerryNA, ArchTeryx

        the H-1b system. It is destroying the careers and lives of many, and for what? Foreign scientists are NO MORE talented than US.  If you go to conferences, the foreign ones INVARIABLY read their slides. Annoying.

  •  Giant settlements (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VClib, ArchTeryx

    typically don't happen very frequently in the employment field.

    The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

    by dfarrah on Thu May 16, 2013 at 05:32:17 PM PDT

    •  Yeah, I know. (0+ / 0-)

      But the threat of them, according to my aunt (a tenured professor who was fired shortly before she was due to retired) is often what will bring an organization to the table, especially in case of a clear-cut disability/ADA case.  Mine wasn't so clear cut, this time, but I learned how to protect myself in the future.

      •  Yes, the threat (0+ / 0-)

        does help to bring them to the table.  I'm glad that you are in a place with people who are willing to deal.  Most employers arrogantly do nothing and let things drag on and on until they are forced by circumstances to settle.

        I hope the best for you and good luck with everything!

        The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

        by dfarrah on Sat May 18, 2013 at 07:53:54 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  As a disability complaint, IT WORKED! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ArchTeryx, Odysseus

    Which -- as someone who has survived two Fair Housing civil rights complaints against my HUD landlords -- is a real accomplishment.

    As I look at what you wrote, I see:

    1 Meet, talk talktalk

    2. 'How can the University best accommodate your disabilities?'

    3.  Don't fire me

    4.  Reasonably reasonable terms for a more supported departure; no firing on your record, a month's grace, income & insurance sustained.

    What this suggests to me is:  That the folks you met with spoke to Legal, who said, 'And this guy's tying your 'reasons' for firing him to his disabilities?'  and then told them in plain terms that the University was NOT going to get embroiled in a 'firing a disabled person for disability-related issues' which would at a minimum be a PR disaster and this guy could bring not one basis (an plain-vanilla employment action) but two (ADA through a Fed level complaint, State level through State Civil Rights office, possibly even county & city Civil Rights violations).

    So this is a good thing, all around -- including the fact that you didn't have to go through any of the legal avenues I just described.

    Learning everything you can about ADA & Fair Housing laws is, imo, absolutely necessary for anybody with disabilities.  And by 'learning about', I mean pulling the laws & regs & DOJ statements etc into your computer and creating a notebook for yourself about   your rights & responsibilities, what is an infringement, etc.  That way, when somebody infringes, you'll know what that infringement is and can reply immediately and follow up with a memo with your talking points supported by quotes from The Law pulled directly from your notebook.  

    I've done that with Fair Housing and it's come in really handy.  Now, when I need to ask for a disability-related accommodation, or the landlord tells me of a planned change that could affect me in a disability-related way, they Attend with I first tell them about it, and the next conversation is now them telling me how they will accommodate me.  

    It's a lot of homework, but you can make it a hobby.  I think you would be well-served to get work-related ADA rules under your belt before you start interviewing, and certainly before you accept a new job.  That way you can better control the arena as you enter it.

    Great news, and thanks for sharing it!  Good luck!

    •  It's quite possible. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CroneWit, Odysseus

      I have done some ADA research, and so did the lawyer I consulted with during my suspension.  It would have been very difficult to win an ADA case simply because I hadn't informed the University (i.e., HR and my bosses) in writing about my disabilities right from the get-go.  So they maintained plausible deniability that the incident directly related to my ADA rights.  All I could do is inform them of my disabilities post hoc, which I did.

      The lawyer actually expected me to be fired.  That I wasn't was quite a surprise.  From this point on, though, I am going to have to be much more up front about my disabilities to hiring organizations, at least after I've been tendered an offer.

      My particular disabilities (Asperger's, J-pouch colon amputee) doesn't have much bearing on housing, simply because landlords don't "see" either of those things...indeed, the former makes me nearly an ideal tenant, since I keep mostly to myself and make little noise or complaint.  In that, at least, I'm very lucky.

  •  What kind of disability didn't you inform them (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    about? I just wonder, because if one has a disability that isn't "believed" in by the employer or whoever else, I would be scared that the reactions would be so stressful that I rather don't apply for disability and don't tell anyone I have one.

  •  So happy for you! (0+ / 0-)

    Hope the job lasts and you can put some money aside.

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

    by Diana in NoVa on Fri May 17, 2013 at 07:13:46 AM PDT

  •  Hooray ArchTeryx! (0+ / 0-)

    Your experience gives me some hope.  Thank you so much for posting all the details.  

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