The MetLife Meat Grinder: A Significant Public Health Concern

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This is what I think of when I think of MetLife’s Short-term Disability Insurance Product. Image Credit: Shutterstock

In preparation for my upcoming defense against criminal and civil charges filed recently on behalf of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company (MetLife), here I wish to document and explain the machinations of an internal, reusable process that MetLife has in its Human Resources toolkit and which not only did the company use to unlawfully terminate my own employment on May 19, 2017, but which the company is also free to use whenever it wishes to shirk its responsibilities as mandated by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Armed with this cold, algorithmic process — I have come to think of it as the MetLife Meat Grinder due to the trauma it can inflict on a person with a psychiatric disability — the company can dismiss with impunity any otherwise qualified employee with a psychiatric disability and simply for having that disability[1].

Such a discriminatory dismissal is supposed to be unlawful under the ADA.

Furthermore, the MetLife Meat Grinder is potentially damaging not just to thousands of the company’s own psychiatrically vulnerable employees, but is also potentially damaging to the psychiatrically disadvantaged of any company that offers MetLife’s Short-Term Disability Insurance product to its employees as an employee benefit. It’s important to recognize that this may represent not thousands but millions of potential victims of the MetLife Meat Grinder, making this process a significant public health concern.

The MetLife Meat Grinder

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If you have a psychiatric disability and believe it to be covered by MetLife’s Short-term Disability Insurance product, be very, very careful about filing any claims. Image Credit: Shutterstock

What I’m calling The MetLife Meat Grinder is a re-usable process that MetLife has developed and which can be used by the company whenever it wants to shirk its ADA-mandated responsibilities. Beginning in late October, 2016 and continuing till today, my family and I have been suffering from the inside the debilitating effects of this process, which not only traumatized us, not only jettisoned us all into an unpredictably long period of financial free-fall due to the loss of my job, not only caused me to fail at the job I finally found five months later, but is in fact now threatening to result in a criminal conviction, all because I have dared to complain and to keep complaining about the MetLife Meat Grinder.

I urge you not to underestimate the public health risks posed by The MetLife Meat Grinder. Not only does it jeopardize the health and safety of every MetLife employee with a psychiatric disability, but this inhumane device can actually be exploited by any other company that offers the MetLife Short-Term Disability product to its employees as a so-called “benefit”. This is a potentially huge number of people whose psychiatric disabilities are being exploited to protect and pad the bottom line profits of MetLife and the companies that purchase MetLife STD insurance for its employees.

Here is a summary of how it works:

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    If you have a psychiatric disability and need to take time off work to recover from a flair up of symptoms, please use extreme caution with MetLife’s Short-term Disability Insurance Product. Image Credit: Shutterstock

    When an employee with a psychiatric disability attempts to use the MetLife Short-term Disability Insurance product while on a doctor recommended medical leave, the MetLife Claims Department takes a very long time to process the claim, during which time the employee has no income, which puts intense financial pressure on the employee to return to work before his or her symptoms are being properly managed, thus increasing the likelihood that the employee will manifest potentially disruptive psychiatric symptoms in the work place.

  2. When an employee with a psychiatric disability requests reasonable accommodation for that disability, the Human Resources Department takes a very long time to process the request, during which time the employee is required to work without the necessary accommodations while continuing to fulfill all of his or her professional expectations, putting unreasonable stress on the employee and again increasing the likelihood that the employee will manifest potentially disruptive psychiatric symptoms in the work place.
  3. When an employee with a psychiatric disability is working full-time and waiting for requested reasonable accommodations, the employee’s manager assigns tasks that are unreasonably difficult, thus increasing the employee’s stress and the likelihood that the employee will manifest potentially disruptive psychiatric symptoms in the work place.
  4. When the employee with a psychiatric disability becomes symptomatic on the job under the above described conditions, the employee’s symptoms are deliberately misconstrued as violations of company policy and the employee is fired for these alleged violations.
  5. Following termination, any formal complaints (e.g. EEOC) or lawsuits are settled in mediation for a price that is far below the true actuarial present value (APV)[2] of the employment opportunity that has been lost by the employee.

Please let me know if you have any comments, suggestions, or questions regarding the above.


[1]e.g. Autism Spectrum Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, Schizophrenia, Depression, etc.

[2]An APV is a rational estimate in today-dollars of a stream of future payments (e.g. salary, bonuses, benefits, etc.), discounted according to interest, mortality and other relevant contingencies. For more information on APV, see the Wikipedia Article.

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