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Question
I used to perform work for another dept. Earlier this year my job was taken from me and given to an Air Force vet returning from a two year deployment. No other work was available to him and the dept he is decided to take their work back and give him my job. I am 54 years old..did this job for 23 years. My dept claimed they had no openings and tried to get me to take a job in another dept. That job is very physical and they knew that I have arthritis, and knee issues along with carpal tunnel and could not do that work. The hiring manager refused to take me after the company documented my physical issues. Therefore the HR dept put me on admin leave..which started off as short term paid disability and as of Sept I have been unpaid. My company refuses to terminate me since they have no grounds..I have excellent reviews, etc..and they refuse to lay me off. I have asked them to lay me off since we have a severance pay plan and they refuse to..saying there is no surplus in our dept..which makes no sense to me. Meanwhile they keep extending my leave every time the end date comes..right now it's at Jan 31, 2013. They told me I cannot file for unemployment even though I have not been paid since the middle of Sept and have no job. I also am no longer earning sick and vacation time and since I have no money I can no longer pay for the employee portion of my health and life insurance so it will end this month..therefore I have no pay and no benefits. They claim they are giving me time to get another job but there are no openings I am qualified for. HR also said they can keep me out like this legally as a medical accommodation for the job they tried to send me to..even though I was never offered the job..never got and never worked at that job and never asked for an accommodating ever.is this legal and can I get unemployment in Missouri for being on an indefinite unpaid leave for a job I never held?

Answer
Karla - I would recommend that you do two things: first, apply for unemployment compensation.  You are not being allowed to work, so in effect you have been shut out of your job.

Second, I would contact the US Department of Labor and file a complaint against your employer.  It sounds as if you are being punished for having a medical condition, and that is not legal.  

Best of luck.

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Margaret M. deMarteleire

Expertise

I can answer most questions about employment law, federal or state. I am an attorney, not an HR professional, so questions about HR careers, coursework, prospects, etc. are not within my scope.

Experience

Attorney for 20 years, currently working exclusively with employment law - FLSA, FMLA, federal contracts, pay, etc.

Education/Credentials
Temple University School of Liberal Arts, BA, Rhetoric & Communication, 1982 Temple University School of Law, JD, 1990 Certificate in HR, Cornell University ILR School, 2006

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