Family Leave Insurance laws in New Jersey — some of the strongest in the United States — protect employees from getting fired while on medical leave. However, there are instances where an employer might violate these laws or terminate a worker for other reasons that have nothing to do with them taking a medical leave.
The first constitutes wrongful termination and could make you eligible for compensation. In this article, we look at what happens when you get fired while on medical leave. If you believe your employer has wrongfully terminated you, contact the New Jersey Employment Law Attorneys at the Law Offices of Usmaan Sleemi for legal help.
Family Medical Leave Act
The federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) applies to companies with five or more of its workers situated within a 75-mile radius of each other. It entitles employees who have worked for 1250 hours or more within 12 months to take a 12-week leave from their duties to take care of their ill family members or sort out their own severe health problems.
All employers on unpaid FMLA leave are protected from losing their jobs during their leave or facing retaliation for taking time off. They must also be reinstated to their previous position upon the end of their leave. Nonetheless, your employer can fire you if you fail to resume work after 12 weeks.
What If You Get Fired?
Provided you were on FMLA or ADA leave, and you did not exceed the 12-week limit of your leave, your employer may not have any legal grounds to fire you. That said, many employers defend themselves by claiming that they dismissed an employee due to performance problems and not because they took an FMLA unpaid leave.
Consider consulting a knowledgeable employment lawyer if this happens. They can study the evidence and help you counter such arguments from your employer.
Health Insurance Coverage
In the event you don’t resume your duties after 12 weeks or are unable to work and, therefore, get dismissed, one of your top worries will likely be your health insurance coverage.
The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) provides that employers that offer their employees health insurance coverage must give fired workers the option to maintain the cover for a given period.
However, the federal act also states that you must pay your full premiums and an additional 2 percent for administrative costs if you wish to maintain your cover. It is crucial to point out that the COBRA act only applies to employers with more than 20 employees who offer health insurance to their workers.
Talk to a New Jersey Employment Law Attorney
It is possible to get fired while on medical leave for reasons other than the fact that you took time off work under FMLA because this would constitute wrongful termination.
If you believe your employer has terminated you on unfair grounds, you should immediately consult with an experienced New Jersey Employment Law Attorney for legal representation. Contact the Law Offices of Usmaan Sleemi online or call us at (973) 453-4060 to discuss your legal rights and options.