My wife works at a local university as an accountant. Or perhaps I should say "worked" ... she suffered a brain injury in late December. She has recovered physically for the most part, but still has significant issues with short-term memory. So knowledge work is not a very realistic option at this point, and consequently, she is still on medical leave.
We just (yesterday) received a letter from the university. They want to convene a "due process" hearing to determine whether she can return to work and what accommodations might be necessary.
It's not (IMO) unreasonable for them to ask whether and/or when she intends on returning to work. And we live in a state (Ohio) where employment is "at will" (either the employee or employer may sever the relationship at any time).
At the same time, recovery from this type of injury is typically 1-2 years. (That doesn't necessarily mean everyone makes a full recovery. It means that, however much a person recovers, 90%-95% of that is going to happen withing 12-24 months.) So December 2017 / January 2018 would be a more appropriate time to have a discussion about her long-term capabilities.
And I am somewhat concerned that the hearing is next week, and they want a list of people who will testify on her behalf by the end of this week (three days from now). It was probably unlikely that I could get any of her doctors or therapists to this meeting; but with so little notice, I have zero chance of getting any of her medical providers to the meeting.
I'm not looking for specific legal advice so much as I'm wondering if this type of hearing is a standard procedure ... and if so, I'd like to have a rough idea of what to expect.
Update / Clarification:
My wife's employer is a state school (not private). I don't know for certain whether her position would be classified as civil service or not; but I would guess that it is (civil service), since she is required to contribute to the state employees' retirement fund.
I do not believe her position is covered by a collective bargaining agreement -- as I understand it, most positions at this university are not (although some functions, e.g. maintenance or campus police, may be an exception).
The university agreed to postpone the hearing. And I did contact an employment attorney. His opinion was that this was probably just a routine formality -- policy does say that medical leave should be reviewed at or about six months -- they would probably just extend her leave, and it would be a waste of time for him to attend the meeting with us.
He was partially correct. The meeting certainly was a formality, and it probably would have been a waste of time for him to attend. But as to the outcome ... they had obviously already made the decision to terminate her employment.