Non Compassionate Bosses

So my husbands employer hasn't been very nice since we had our twins at 28 weeks. We delivered about 2 hours away from home at a larger hospital and our twins had to stay there for 2 months. My husband is in sales and travels quite a bit so he works away from home a lot. However, when the twins arrived early he asked if he could work a couple of days a week in Iowa City ( I stayed at a guest house in the hospital while there). They said he could work one day a week (not very generous) considering what we were going through and that he sometimes is gone for 10-13 days at a time for trips. Get this, they said he could take "unpaid" leave but he would lose his benefits. Yep, that would be really smart! Lose our insurance when we need it the most!!! Now that we are back and everybody is fine they are telling "everyone" that the claims are too high and need to switch insurance companies cause our rates went up. In the last 2 weeks his boss (JB) has brought up insurance to him 3 times now. Told my DH in so many words that it was from most of our claims. To top it off today he called him into his office and showed him this video -see the link below. It is about a couple who had preemie twins I believe and went through many surgeries w/one of them and maxed their insurance, lost one twin girl, and went bankrupt from medical bills. My DH and I are still trying to figure out his point. When I watched the video, I just felt awful for the family but the whole time was thinking what an ***hole. I think he has crossed the line. Obviously they don't have kids and thank goodness they don't. They have been very unkind through our ordeal. The only thing that makes me feel better is KARMA. Thanks for listening. Hope everyone has better employers than my husband does. cnn

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Wow. I am so sorry to hear that you and your husband are going through this. Having preemies is hard enough w/o the added stress of a jack*** employer. Your husband's boss is morally repugnant.

I believe that his boss also gave your husband false information. While it is true that an employer is only obligated to provide an employee with 12-weeks of unpaid leave, my understanding was that health insurance had to be maintained during that period. I'm not a lawyer, but I'm pretty sure that is what the federal law says. For more information about it, see:

I do believe that what goes around comes around. I have often observed that the moral decision often ends up being the pragmatic one as well. Given that your husband's boss has been incredibly inconsiderate, sensitive, and cruel (e.g., the video), that is hardly going to motivate your husband to go above and beyond the call of duty in the future. If one wants to motivate employees to give it their all, then an employer should provide some positive, psychological incentives.

I highly recommend that you and your husband keep a diary or log of his conversations with his boss and details from those conversations. If the boss tries to force your husband out of the company because of your family situation, I suspect that you could have some grounds for a law suit. If the company was telling your husband that he'd lose his health insurance during the 12-weeks, then they are violating federal law that is supposed to protect employees. Again, I'm not a lawyer, but I suspect that something fishy is going on at the company.

Best wishes to you and your family. I hope that you have smooth sailing from here on out. And I hope that your husband is able to perhaps find a better job, with an employer who is respectful and his/her employees!

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Thanks for your comment. He didn't qualify for unpaid (FMLA) leave because the company is smaller than 60. We did ask about that. They were pretty rude about that as well.

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It's amazing how unbelievably idiotic employers can be!

I worked for the same small company (less than 60 empl. as well) for 9 years. My water broke at 27 weeks, we held off delivery for 3 weeks while I was on hospital bedrest. Ally had a rougher road than most 30 weekers and had a total NICU stay of about 70 days with two short-lived trips home in there too. When she was still in the NICU, I went back to work part days then I'd leave to be there for feedings and kangarooing etc. I took more time off once she came home for good (3rd homecoming) then went back to work full time when she was 4 mos actual (we had someone watch her in our house)
Obviously they had to figure out a way to get my job done in my absence. . but those a**holes let me come back to work for 3 weeks THEN told me that they're going to go back to having corporate do my stuff like they did while I was gone. 9 years!
I pretty much freaked and was REALLY bitter for quite a while. She was still on 02, we were of course still trying to recover from the lost income for the time after my maternity leave ran out etc. plus copays, eating out while running to and from hospital, work and taking care of our 12 year old son etc.
I looked into it to see if there was anything I could do, but those small companies are protected/don't have to follow the same rules as larger ones. It blows. . .it really does.
The whole idea of showing him that video is just crazy. He definately has crossed the line with bringing up and threatening losing insurance. AAARGHH!
The battle with insurance is bad enough. . .I swear they've 'flagged' our account and are fighting and making us prove everything since Ally's bills have gotten pretty high.
Hang in there. Sounds like your hubbie needs to take one of those 'unpaid' days they're so generously offering and look for a new employer. . .one with a flippin' clue! :)
Huge (((HUGS)))) Ellen

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Good grief, don't people understand that we certainly didn't PLAN on having preemies?!! That's the point of insurance!!! --but we've gotten so far away from that concept in this country... it's ridiculous.

My hubby went thorough something similar when my 28-week twins were born-- I went into the hospital at 26 weeks due to pPROM. DH was in the process of changing jobs; he left a stable but low-paying one for a promised (in writing!) position in a newer company; but as it turns out, a written promise of employment means very little if there's fine print...

The very day my sick firstborn passed away, the new co. said they'd expanded too quickly and renegged their job offer. Old company said, "you gave your two weeks; you're done here" (he hadn't "burned his bridges," either-- he's still on good terms with his supervisor!). He didn't qualify for unemployment because he willingly left his job, and I didn't qualify for temporary disability because my (public) school district didn't pay into the state system!!! The ONLY good thing we had going for us was that, as a teacher, I had fairly good health insurance for us, and a sympathetic insurance rep. who fought for us.

Long story short?! I think what happened to your DH is ILLEGAL-- it's very threatening. I'd consult a lawyer! --but, in the meantime, tell him to sharpen up his resume and start looking, so that you have an out. Just remember (and it stinks!) that new insurance takes 3 months to kick in (and the COBRA is outrageous). This situation is inexcusable!

As someone who lost a child, I am outraged that his boss would dare show him such a video... Preemie healthcare is an up and coming issue, and one that needs to be openly discussed, but not in that place and time.

BTW, blessings on your twins: my surviving son is the light of my life. He's been very healthy since his NICU stay, and while I will always miss his brother, I'm still overjoyed at my miracle preemie! :)


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hi there - i'm so sorry to hear that you're going through this with your husband's employer. i agree with the comments about, you have grounds to consult with a lawyer for many reason and most importantly, it seems like the boss is harassing you guys by sending the video for which he crossed the line. i've attached the information regarding FMLA below - 50 or more employers are covered by this act:

you may need to ask his employer for a copy of their company handbook(if avail) and look for policies that may pertain to your husband's situation. also, document everything and yes, sharpen his resume. depending on the state you reside, you may also call the department of labor for assistance. information is included on the attached link. good luck and let me know how things are.

take care,

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That's become my mantra these days. It's a fact that all of us preemie moms have had to accept. (When we did everything we could to have healthy pregnancies and still deliver too early.) I work for a very large company that handled my situation almost by the book. (When they chose to deviate, it was in my favor.)

It sounds like your best option is for your husband to look for a new job. (I know this is easier said than done in this economy.) I'd put the bulk of my effort in that direction. --Is there anyone else you can lean on in the meantime?

Certainly, I'd document all conversations he has with date, time, and notes to protect myself. However, I think what you're dealing with is classified as "hostile work environment" and harassment. Our court systems have come to define workplace harassment as inclusive of incidents other than simple quid-pro-quo sexual harassment. Religious and political views, race, education level, age, etc., are now all part of the equation. So, too, is disability, medical needs, etc. They're wading into dangerous territory by commenting openly on your family situation. If you wanted to take on the fight, you might have a case, but is the fight worth it in the end? (If your goal is to have a supportive employer, will suing the one you already have accomplish that?)

They'd be safe if they restricted their comments only to his job performance, but they haven't. They can still make it about that, however, and they'll have better records to prove it. (Or, since they're a smaller company, they can cook his records to show what they want.) I think your husband is in a dangerous situation. In sales, you're required to meet numbers, goals, and quotas. Sales results are very measurable. I'd make sure that those are clean, and I'd document all non-job-performance conversations. All they have to do is point to a dip in his sales figures during the period of your hospitalization to show that he was terminated for job performance.

I'd look for a new job. One where I wasn't harassed all the time for a situation I had no control over, one where I didn't have to look over my shoulder for the knife about to sink into my back, and one where I could do the best job I could without having to waste energy on covering my *ss.

Unfortunately, even if you won the legal battle, you could still lose in accomplishing your goal. By that I mean that, if your goal is to work for someone who is supportive of your family situation and who considers the medical expenditures to be an investment in morale and loyalty, I don't think you can achieve the goal by suing.

I think the only way to achieve that is to look for another job.

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I agree with a lot of what you said. He is definitely being harassed by his boss. I, however, would at least talk to an attorney. If the company knows that a lawyer has been contacted, maybe at least the harassment will stop. Yes, I'd still look for new employment as I wouldn't want to work for a company like that.

You have enough stress and issues to deal with right now. How your husband's boss treats and talks to him should be the last thing in the world you have to worry about.

So sorry to hear what you are going through. Hopefully things will get better for you soon.

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Thanks to everyone for making me feel better. It helps to know that others feel the same way I do. I wish it was as easy as getting another job, but we really count on my husbands income and the insurance. Unfortunately he just has to just keep quiet. I wish we could take action but the risk isn't worth it right now.

Thanks again!

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