Professor George Ebers

If it's on your mind and it has to do with multiple sclerosis in any way, post it here.

Postby batpere » Sun Feb 06, 2005 5:47 am

BioDocFL wrote:Harry,

If you are right about the NMSS not hiring people with MS, that is very odd on the face of it. I can't imagine a reason for a policy like that and it would seem, in my opinion, to leave them open for some litigation for discrimination. I would really like to know why such a policy would exist. Would that then extend to researchers with MS who are applying for NMSS grants I wonder. Maybe I'll send them an email to find out.

Wesley


Here's some info from an monthly newsletter I received last month:

In evaluating discrimination that violates law, you should be more interested in examining why rather than how it occurs. Unless you can show that the intent of any perceived discriminatory treatment is based on age, sex, race, religion or other categories established by law, it's not illegal discrimination.

Then is there legal discrimination? Yes! Laws don't prohibit discrimination outside those specified areas. You can be legally discriminated against for your physical attributes, likeability, or for that matter, the color of your shoelaces.

Discrimination can be based on absolutely any feature imaginable. But if you intend to claim illegal discrimination, you must know its limitations.
---------------------------------------------------------------
Sounds like it could be legal to discriminate against someone because they have MS unless that is explicitly covered in existing categories. Does anyone know if that is the case? ADA?
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Postby OddDuck » Sun Feb 06, 2005 6:00 am

Ok, folks. Here I come. I'm in law and LABOR law, to boot!

Yes, it is BLATANTLY discriminatory to not hire someone because of ANY health disabilities. Multiple Sclerosis falls under the ADA specifically. There is no way that the NMSS could have ever posted such a policy here in the U.S. without being dragged into Court immediately by the Federal Government. Sorry, just wouldn't happen. Not in the U.S. Plus, that would be the biggest political uproar ever and would most likely put the NMSS out of complete business if it were true. So, no..........there is just no way. Any applicant for a job position, though, must be able to meet the minimum requirements for doing any particular job, of course, but that holds true for anyone applying for a job.

As for BioDoc's comment as to whether anyone is compiling MS research findings? Yes...........I am and as you can tell from my postings here, I have been for quite a while now. And at their encouragement, I send them to the NMSS, who does read them, pass them on, etc.

Also, the NMSS has just appointed a new VP of Research to replace Reingold. It is Dr. John Richert from Georgetown University. He himself has some interesting theories and has been doing extensive research regarding MS and SP3 gene expression (transcription). He starts officially in his position at the NMSS in April.

Wesley, you will hear back from them. That department is currently undergoing a huge transition period right at the moment, though. Plus, your contact there will need some time to review your ideas, and to get other researchers' feedback.

Deb

P.S. Oh, yes...........and remember, the NMSS Research Department does read this particular MS message board, to keep abreast of things. I was surprised myself when I learned that they do that as a general rule. And whenever a particular conversation thread of ours becomes "of interest" to the NMSS, I tell them, and send them a direct link to particular threads that I believe they would be interested in reading.
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Postby HarryZ » Sun Feb 06, 2005 7:44 am

Deb,

Is there a quick way for you to check with the NMSS and ask if they have any employees that have MS?

I can remember this kind of employment thread from a couple of years ago on another MS forum and there was quite an "interesting" conversation about the whole matter and the fact that the NMSS supposedly did not hire employees that had the disease.

Harry
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Postby OddDuck » Sun Feb 06, 2005 7:51 am

Sure, Harry.

Deb
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Postby OddDuck » Sun Feb 06, 2005 8:55 am

Ok.........this was fast. We were in luck.

The answer goes back to what I said previously about such a thing being basically a vicious rumor, especially due to the EEO, the ADA, and HIPPA regulations, to name just a few, that govern the labor and employment laws here in the United States.

In any event, to make a long story short, (but since it is not legal to post specific references to someone else's health without their approval, especially as it relates to where they are employed), the NMSS has confirmed my original suspicions. So, officially - from the NMSS:

Yes, there are people employed at the NMSS who DO have MS.


Such a policy or practice as "not hiring someone with MS" by the NMSS would be not only stupid, but so highly illegal as to be ludicrous to even attempt such a thing here in the U.S. Besides, speaking on behalf of myself right now, how in the world would they ever KNOW you had MS in the first place when you applied for a job with them? Under the EEO here in the U.S., it is illegal for any employer to ask about your health or disabilities up front during application or interview or upon hiring. So, common sense tells you..........how would they know if you even had MS in the first place when you applied or got hired?

There could be MANY more people who have MS employed in their organization than they even are aware of. I think everyone knows how many people with MS keep it a secret from employers for as long as they can anyway. What you don't tell them, they won't know........and they can't legally ask, either.

Deb
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Postby HarryZ » Sun Feb 06, 2005 8:38 pm

Deb,

Thanks for that very quick response and clarification. Too bad I didn't know you a couple of years ago :-)))) That would have saved a lot of messages!!

Harry
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Postby OddDuck » Mon Feb 07, 2005 5:48 am

You're welcome, Harry.

I'm surprised that even two years ago during a discussion such as this that SOMEBODY trained in U.S. law wouldn't have jumped in and at least made the same "legal" points I just did. :lol:

And yes, I just happened to catch the NMSS online yesterday (working OT on a Sunday! Not unusual, though) and got a return email right back in answer to our question.

Deb
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Postby HarryZ » Mon Feb 07, 2005 6:47 am

Deb,

I'm surprised that even two years ago during a discussion such as this that SOMEBODY trained in U.S. law wouldn't have jumped in and at least made the same "legal" points I just did. :lol:


If I can recall back then, that point was indeed mentioned. But the focus of the thread centered around the NMSS knowing the person had MS before they were hired. That's when someone stated that scenario wouldn't happen because the NMSS didn't want such an employee focusing in the wrong direction while working in the organization. There were a number of assumptions expressed back then of which most were opinions.

Take care.

Harry
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Postby OddDuck » Mon Feb 07, 2005 8:12 am

Well, like I said, Harry. IF the NMSS WAS told by that person that they had MS and then the NMSS didn't hire them because of it, that same MS applicant would probably be RICH right now after suing the NMSS. And believe me, doing a simple search on the internet would bring that issue up, as any lawsuits like that are of public record.

Naw...........didn't happen.

Deb
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Postby OddDuck » Mon Feb 07, 2005 8:43 am

Wait.........I'll tell ya what.

I'll do a Lexis legal search to find what cases HAVE ever been filed against the NMSS. Let's see what we come up with for sure. Give me a couple of seconds, and then I'll let you know.

Deb
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Postby OddDuck » Mon Feb 07, 2005 9:09 am

Ok...........I did a little legal research via Lexis (a paid subscription service for attorneys and paralegals, etc., to research court cases).

I gotta say, the NMSS is pretty clean! There was only ONE discrimination case, which was an "age discrimination" cause of action against the NMSS WAY back in 1980!

I'll quote a couple of things from the Court Decision in that case (it's public record and can be posted here). The "Defendant" is the NMSS in this case.

... Plaintiff's state age discrimination claim alleges that defendant terminated plaintiff's employment for reasons solely connected with plaintiff's age, in violation of the New York Human Rights Law, N.Y. Exec. Law § 296. Section 296(1) (a) HN6provides that it shall be an unlawful discriminatory [*9] practice for an employer to discharge an employee because of the employee's age. ....

In the case of hand, plaintiff's allegation that defendant agreed that "he could work until he chose to retire" suggests no reason to depart from the well-established rule that a contract for an indefinite period of time is terminable at will and does not give rise to a cause of action. Accordingly, plaintiff's contract claim must be dismissed. ....


So, in other words, the Plaintiff didn't have a leg to stand on and lost. Based on the facts in the case, I gotta say that he was really stretching it to try to even claim age discrimination against the NMSS in the first place. No surprise he didn't get anywhere with it.

Other than that, nothing. And that's REALLY impressive (to be so "free" of lawsuits), I gotta say. Especially for an organization that has been in existence for so long.

Hope this helps!

Deb
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Postby HarryZ » Mon Feb 07, 2005 6:55 pm

Deb,

Thanks for all the info.

I went back to the MS forum to try and see if I could come up with this thread but the messages simply don't go back that far.

Thanks again.

Harry
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Postby BioDocFL » Mon Feb 07, 2005 7:03 pm

Well, the NMSS got back to me today.

The local chapter (mid Florida) said they had had someone on the staff in Florida with MS who decided to quit when their MS got too far along. My question was being circulated to see if there is any rules anywhere but there doesn't appear to be a rule against MSers. I didn't think there would be. It seems that it was probably just a rumor from some online discussion a few years ago. It's good to clear it up though.

As for my hypothesis, I heard back on that too. It is still being circulated for comments and they will get back to me soon. That's also as I expected.

Wesley
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Postby OddDuck » Tue Feb 08, 2005 5:45 am

Harry, you're welcome!

Wesley.......yep, that's as I expected, also. But see? The NMSS doesn't ignore everybody as is often indicated. If you have scientific substantive evidence and pretty strong valid theories or hypotheses they will listen and take action by passing it on to others. And if you take a look at the doctors and researchers on their advisory boards, you are having it reviewed by some pretty big names!

And even getting that far in MS research is a huge step! Good for you, Wesley! And continued good luck!

Deb
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Late to the game

Postby art » Tue Feb 08, 2005 5:03 pm

I'm late to the conversation, but I'll weigh in on 3 points:

1) NMSS does hire people with MS (I know that has been resolved, but I can say I know someone who worked there and had MS)

2) While the NMSS says they funded the research that lead to Tysabri, I think they may be overstating the case a bit such that they wouldn't have any claim on the returns from the drug. I've asked the scientist in charge of Tysabri at Biogen Idec what research they funded and he wasn't aware of what it was. (Similarly with Interferons). His guess is that it was some very early work 10 years ago or something. You won't get any IP from that. The drug was developed by Elan and Biogen Idec, they'll get the profits.

3) Why does it cost that much? Because that's what the market has proven it will bear, is my guess.
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