Entries in Job (4)


Philadelphia Woman Says She Was Fired for Taking Leave to Donate Kidney

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(PHILADELPHIA) -- Claudia Rendon, 41, of Philadelphia, said her employer, Aviation Institute of Maintenance, fired her after she took time off to donate a kidney to her son. Rendon said the school was also trying to collect up to $2,000 from her son, a student at the school, related to his sick leave.

Rendon, who worked for a year and a half in the school's admissions office, said she notified the school that she planned to take leave on July 19 to undergo kidney transplant surgery on July 21 at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania on behalf of her 22-year-old son, Alex, whose kidney failed last January. After extensive testing in early July, Rendon was found to be a match.

"I would do it all over again. No questions asked," Rendon said.

Kidney transplant surgery normally requires at least six to eight weeks of recovery time, and Rendon said the Aviation Institute agreed to give Rendon unpaid leave until Sept. 1. Rendon told ABC News that on her last day of work before the surgery, her manager promised Rendon she would have her job upon her return, but one hour later, asked her to sign a letter acknowledging that her job was not secured.

"They said, 'If you don't sign this letter, you are abandoning your job and quitting,'" Rendon told ABC News. "I said, 'I am not abandoning my job. I am saving my son's life.'"

Rendon said she signed the letter after a superior at the company told her she was a "good employee" and would most likely have her job when she returned. Rendon said she'd taken holiday leave earlier this year related to the illnesses of family members, which included one week to bury her mother in Colombia in February.

Calls to the Aviation Institute of Maintenance's headquarters in Virginia Beach, Va., were transferred to the school in Philadelphia, where Rendon had worked. When asked if it would comment on Rendon's firing, its communications department said, "Absolutely not."

On Aug. 24, Rendon called Aviation Institute, saying she was not sure she could return to work by Sept. 1 because of severe back pain. She said the institute then asked her for a letter from the hospital.

The University of Pennsylvania hospital and her short-term disability provider each wrote letters to Rendon's employer, according to Rendon, indicating she would return to work Sept. 12.

On Sept. 8, Rendon said she made a social visit to her workplace and learned that her job was filled two days before. Rendon said the school cited business needs.

Rendon, who said she could walk only 10 to 15 minutes without assistance because of severe back pain, said she was still shocked about her firing.

"If they would have told me to come back that day, I would have done it," Rendon said.

Losing her job, Rendon said, means she can't pay for a new apartment she just moved into.

While her son has recovered from the transplant, Rendon said the school is trying to collect $2,000 related to time he took off for medical reasons. Rendon said the school is charging her son, who became a student December 2009, $150 to re-enroll, on top of the $2,000.

"[The school] told him he took too long of a leave," Rendon said.

Michael Foreman, clinical law professor and director of Penn State's Civil Rights Appellate Clinic, said Rendon's employer is not required to provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act because it has less than 50 employees. Rendon estimated the company had about 30 employees in the Philadelphia office.

Foreman said the state of Pennsylvania, like most other states, has its own medical leave laws, but they closely mirror federal laws.

Foreman said Rendon's surgery and medical complications could possibly be covered under the federal Americans With Disabilities Act or under Pennsylvania's disabilities law. The Pennsylvania Human Relations Act applies to all public and private employers in Pennsylvania with four or more employees.

"The issue is whether her surgery and complications would constitute a physical impairment substantially limiting a major life activity. That is basically the legal definition from these laws," said Foreman.

If it's determined that it does, the employer would have to provide "reasonable accommodation" requiring an examination of how keeping the position open could harm the company's business.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Work Longer, Live Longer? Most People Capable of Living to 90, Researcher Says 

George Doyle/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- Wesley Brown, Agnes Zhelesnik and Seth Glickenhaus are older than 95 and still working -- not because they have to but because they want to.

"I love my work," Glickenhaus, who is 97 and a senior partner at investment firm Glickenhaus and Co. in New York City, said. "I'm the Tiger Woods or Michael Jordan of money and investing."

Glickenhaus started working in 1929 during his summer breaks from Harvard and has been working ever since.

Dr. Thomas Perls, director of the New England Centenarian Study at Boston University, said it all comes down to an individual's cognitive ability.

"As long as they are cognitively intact, they are virtually immortal," he said. "It is only once we see a decline in their cognitive function is their mortality quite high."

At 103, U.S. District Judge Wesley Brown is the oldest federal judge in the nation and has taken his lifetime appointment from President Kennedy to heart.

Perls said living beyond 100 years requires an increasingly important genetic component, but that most people are capable of living to 90.

While Brown lives for service and Glickenhaus lives for finance, Agnes Zhelesnik lives to teach. At 97, Zhelesnik is believed to be the nation's oldest full-time teacher.

Such a sense of purpose and meaning plays an important role in longevity, Perls of Boston University said. "It is vital to have a cause to wake up to every morning," he said. "There has to be something to get you up and keep you engaged."

Perls said people like Brown, Zhelesnik and Glickenhaus tend to be extroverts who easily establish friendships and thrive on their relationships with others. They also usually handle stress well and score low on neuroticism.

The secret might just be in not looking too far ahead.

"I celebrate everyday, I've done that all my life," Glickenhaus said. "I don't really believe much in birthday celebrations. When I'm 125, I might think about celebrating....I take it very much in stride."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 


Working Overtime Could Increase Risk for Heart Disease, Researchers Say

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- Researchers at University College London report that long work days could increase the likelihood of developing heart disease.

The study, to be published in the April 5 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine, looked at almost 7,100 low-risk British civil servants between 1991 and 2004, screening out individuals who showed signs of heart disease. Researchers found that the employees who worked 11-hour days or longer on a consistent basis were 67 percent more likely to develop coronary illnesses than those who worked only seven or eight hours.

Still, the study authors noted that other factors were considered in their analysis such as age, cholesterol levels and whether or not a patient smokes. A direct cause-and-effect relationship between long working hours and heart disease could not be confirmed.

But while changes to patient care may be unnecessary at this time, the study's investigators suggest adding questions about working hours to physical exams if further research supports their findings.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Most Americans Are Stressed at Work

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Perhaps the only thing more stressful than on-the-job stress is not having a job at all, but that doesn't mean workplace stress isn't a problem.  The 2011 Work Stress Survey by Harris Interactive finds 77 percent of Americans say they are stressed out about something related to their job.

Here’s a rundown of the chief causes of worker stress:

  • 14 percent, low pay
  • 11 percent, commuting
  • 9 percent, an unreasonable workload
  • 9 percent, fear of being laid off
  • 8 percent, annoying co-workers
  • 5 percent, an annoying boss
  • 5 percent, poor work-life balance
  • 4 percent, lack of opportunity for advancement

Additional findings:

  • Young adults ages 18-34 ranked low pay and annoying co-workers as the top two stress factors.
  • College graduates ranked losing their job as the biggest cause of stress, followed by unreasonable workload and low pay.
  • 21 percent of respondents said they had no job stress.
  • 24 percent of married people were stressed about their jobs, compared to 14 percent of singles.

The Harris Interactive survey involved nearly 1,000 adults and was conducted to coincide with April's National Stress Awareness Month.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio