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Tuesday, April 10, 2012


I've been toying with the idea of writing this post for a while now. After a lingering feeling of hatred, resentment and anxiety, I decided that I would write it down, and share it to anyone who cares.

I'm not usually the person who carries resentment around with them. But, over the past 7 months, I have found a reason to have resentment. I'm currently still unemployed. Don't get me wrong - I adore being home with Cael, watching him grow, being able to breastfeed on demand, and be there for my son. It's a blessing in disguise. But I still can't shake this horrible feeling that I got severely dicked over by my employer (or rather, ex-employer). It's been eating me alive since Cael was 3 weeks old. I also want to make very clear that I do not like to talk bad about anyone, especially an employer. And especially on a public site. However, I just feel like they don't have their shit together, and I got the short end of the stick. I'm pretty sure this will get quite long.

Here's a shortened summary of what happened:

When Cael was 3 weeks old, I was told I didn't have a job to return to. After months of going back and forth with my HR department, we currently don't have health insurance. I knew our insurance would be ending, but they dragged it out longer than it should have been. I'm over and done with them.

Here's everything that happened:

I reserved a daycare spot for Cael when I was 9 weeks pregnant, with EVERY intention of returning to work after Cael was born. I NEVER imagined the end of my pregnancy would turn out the way it did, and I never thought I'd have such a hard time recovering. I was never told, when I went out on bed rest at 30 weeks pregnant, that it would be a problem with me being out so long. After my initial week visit after being on bed rest, it was determined I'd be out of work for the rest of the pregnancy. Since my employer knew this, I feel that I should have been informed that my extended absence from work would become an issue, and that my position could be in jeopardy. This is where the human resources department is severely lacking. They are NOT on top of things, and really didn't/don't seem to know what is going on. They also didn't inform me about FMLA, which I feel it's their responsibility to do - inform their employees of their rights, and what could/could not happen.

So when Cael was 3 weeks old (more like 2.5 weeks), I was informed that my position was being posted. I was told by my supervisor that if/when I decided to return, they would definitely find me a position, and that they still consider me part of the team. She also told me she would talk to the Diagnostic Imaging supervisor to see if they would have me work there. However, I was told that I would have a job somewhere. Well, we now know that was a lie. In fact, I never heard back from my supervisor when she said she'd call me after talking to him. I had to call, and I found out she never did talk to him. Real nice, right? OH yea, and I forgot to mention, that
I called my supervisor the day she told me my job was going to be posted, for a different reason. She didn't call me. No one called me to let me know. Even nicer, right?

At this point, I was out of work for 13 weeks (FMLA covers 12 weeks; BUT I didn't know being out for pregnancy complications counted towards the 12 weeks). To be quite honest, the way my supervisor was talking to me, sounded like she was trying to persuade me to stay home with Cael. And that they were doing me a favor so that I could. The problem, is that they knew (because I've told them several times while working) that we wouldn't be able to live on Matt's salary alone. Why in the world would I want to stay home if we couldn't do it financially?? Yes, I would love to stay home, but it wasn't our plan.

I come to find out that within 3 weeks of my position being posted, they had already hired someone, and they had STARTED working already! That means, in 3 weeks, my position was:

1) posted
2) candidates applied
3) candidates called for an interview
4) an interview conducted
5) the position offered to said candidate
6) said candidate accepted offer
7) said candidate started working

All in 3 weeks. I think not. The whole thing seemed suspicious to me. Well, I come to find out, again, that the person who got my position was 1) asked to work per diem back in July (so she already knew that there could be the potential for a permanent position. But she declined it then) and 2) worked with a co-worker several years back in the same department. I'm sorry, but to me, it's all too much of a coincidence. I can't help but think that they had all this planned out ahead of time. Maybe I'm just paranoid and making this all up in my head, but I feel like I'm really seeing it as it is.

(I'm on day 2 of writing this, so my flow has been interrupted.) Continuing... . . .

So onto the topic of our health insurance. This is another example of lack of communication (on their part). I spoke to one person initially, and she isn't in the same position anymore. I knew that I needed to pay to keep our benefits while on disability from July 1-September, but again, I didn't hear much from anyone about payments, due dates, etc. So come November 1, when I was off disability, I needed to find out how much we needed to keep paying for our health insurance. The person I spoke to told me specifically, and gave me a print out, that I could continue to pay what I would be paying had I been still working. And that I could continue paying said amount - $286 and change - while I was on a 6 month leave of absence. After the leave of absence, we could continue my insurance, but pay for COBRA - which would be around $1500 a month. We've had COBRA before, and it was nearly a mortgage payment. No thank you!

Back track a second to explain. Once my short-term disibility ended October 31st, and I didn't have a job to return to, they put me on a 6 month leave of absence. It was explained to me, by the same lady who told me I'd be paying $286 a month to keep our insurance, that an employee gets placed on a 6 month leave of absence when they're disability ends, and they can't return to work for whatever reason. Basically, it's a general term to cover everything that isn't covered by disability. During that 6 month leave of absence, you are supposed to search for jobs at the employer, and apply for them. HOWEVER, to me, this made no sense. There is no job for me, or I'd be there. But whatever, I'll do what they say. I kept checking the intranet and the website for positions, but (not without surprise), there wasn't anything for me. I explained to HR that, due to childcare costs and my distance to travel, that I couldn't work in a position that paid me less than what I was making as a sonographer. They seemed understanding.

Ok, so back to the insurance - which, at this point, is causing me the most angst. As I said, I was told that I would only have to pay $286 a month WHILE on this leave. They told me that my absence would end roughly around March. Which, thinking back on it, it should have been 6 months from November 1, when my disability ended, not 6 months from September. But whatever. So I finally called HR again (this is at least the 10th time I called them - not including leaving messages) in the very beginning of March, to see if I could finally get a total for what we owed. I had already paid $1100 towards it, so I wasn't sure how much I owed. I was on Long Island at the time, but they said they were going to mail me a statement that week.

After a week and half on Long Island, I came home to a letter from HR. FINALLY, I thought, something - some kind of communication from them. I opened it up, and it said that for the months of January, February and March, I owed $4419!! Wha-wha-WHAT!?! That's $1473 a month. Nowhere NEAR what I was told I would be paying. There's no way we could pay that. It's just not possible. If I knew that it would be $1400 a month, we would have canceled my insurance at the end of the year, and went on Matt's. It's more expensive for Matt's insurance, and we need all the money we can get, so we figured if it was going to be <$300 a month for mine, we might as well keep it as long as we can. It had to be a mistake. I would call HR and figure this all out. Hell, we took out a loan for $5000 for the construction, and we have 5 years to pay it off!

Well, I called HR, and it wasn't a mistake. Apparently, I was completely misinformed by the original person I was speaking to. You pay the $286 a month to keep the insurance while you're on disability. Once you get put on the leave of absence, you pay full price, which is $1400+. Um, yea, well, that's not what I was told. And I told this lady that she better have a talk with the other lady, because she has no clue what she is doing or talking about. I told her there was no way we could afford those payments, that my husband doesn't even make one payment in a month. I also told her that if I was properly informed in the first place, and told I'd be paying so much, I would have canceled and went on my husbands insurance. It's asinine to have to pay that much for insurance! And sadly, I know a lot of people have to. After being stern and standing my ground for almost the whole conversation, I just couldn't take the stress and anxiety anymore, and nearly broke down. I felt my eyes welling up with tears, and a lump in my throat. I tried so hard to not break down on the phone with this person, but I'm sure she heard it in my voice when I told her we just didn't have the money for it.

Then she said/did something that I never thought would happen. She said that if I could pay for March, then they would take care of January and February. So we would only have to pay the $1473, and that would be it. I told her that we could do that, and I felt a ton of pressure come off my shoulders. I told her that I wanted my insurance terminated as of March 31st, and she said she would mail out the paperwork I needed, and the letter that Matt's HR needed in order to get on his insurance. I thanked her so much, and we hung up the phone. If we could pay it all by the end of March, that would be best. Luckily for us, at the same time, we were given repayment for money we lent someone a couple of years ago. We honestly forgot about it, so it was perfect timing. It would be enough to make this payment, so that we can finally move on from my employer. I am just so done with them.

That conversation took place on March 15th. Well, by Easter, I still hadn't received anything. I was really hoping to have the paperwork by the end of March, so that we can get the ball rolling to get onto Matt's insurance by the beginning of April. Cael has an appointment to recheck his weight on April 19th.

I did call again at the end of March, and she said it was mailed out, and to call if I didn't get it. I called and left her a message on Friday April 6th. By Tuesday the 10th (when I started writing this post), I called back, and finally got to talk to her. I told her that I didn't get anything yet - almost a month later. She said that she could fax it, so I gave her Matt's work fax number. I honestly didn't expect anything, especially after their history with things like this, but luckily, it was there on Wednesday. I'm almost positive that she never mailed it to begin with, because I would have received. I get statements and newsletters from them, so there's no reason I wouldn't get something from HR.

So here we are, Thursday April 12th, and we don't have health insurance. And I'm pissed over it. Matt submitted the paperwork to his HR today to get on his insurance, so the process has started. The good news is that they will backdate the insurance to April 1st, but we may not have any of the insurance information by the time Cael has his appointment. I guess that's ok, as long as we can get them the information after the appointment. Cael's doctor will be out of network anyway, so they'll be an expensive copay (my guess is $50-75). But it'll be better than paying full price for the visit. It's only a weight check, so I can't imagine it would be very expensive, but still. Matt and I decided that we want to keep his pediatrician until he's at least a year old, even though it will be out of network. We really love his pediatrician, so it's worth it to me.

So resentment. I'm very resentful towards them for everything that they've put me through over the last 7 months. The stress, the lack of communication, the misinformation, and the unprofessionalism of an HR department. I'm over it, and I'm over them. I still don't know what my current work status is. I haven't talked to anyone from there in over a month (there is still one person I'm friendly with). I don't know if they still have me on an unpaid leave of absence, or if I'm considered terminated. I.Have.No.Clue. Do I care? Not really. It'd be nice to know if I'm done with them, but at this point in time, I really don't feel like contacting anyone from the HR department again. I do need to find out what to do with my 403b account, but that's another day.

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