Believe it or not, your employer may have the right to fire you even when you are out on medical leave. They cannot fire for being on medical leave or having a disability. If your termination has been in the works for a while, you may be fired during medical leave. If you feel that you were fired unfairly, you should seek the help of an employment attorney in Newark NJ.
If you are employed without an employment contract, your employment is known as an ‘At-Will’ employment. This means that your employment may be terminated without notice for any legal reason. Illegal reasons for termination include the following:
- Termination because of discrimination against religion, sex, race, or disability. If you are disabled, your employer should make reasonable accommodations to allow you to work
- Termination based on a legally protected right such as taking a medical leave
Your employment may be terminated based on merit and performance at work. No employee can be fired because they took medical leave. However, they may be fired for reasons such as failure to comply with the company’s policies or failure to give notice when going on leave.
When You May Be Fired During Medical Leave
An employer can fire you during medical leave if they would have taken the same action even if you didn’t take the leave. There are some instances where it may be okay for an employer to fire you while you are on medical leave, including:
- If you failed to comply with direct orders from your supervisors
- If, before your leave, you had failed to perform your duties or you had been absent from work.
- If there is sufficient evidence that you had performance issues prior to your medical leave
- If your employer can prove that they had reached a decision for reduction-in-force before you took your leave
- If you were non-compliant with your company’s absence policy
Job Protection Under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
FMLA is a federal law that allows employees twelve weeks of unpaid leave annually to deal with their medical issues. You must meet certain qualifications to be covered by FMLA. Note that your workplace may not always be subject to the law.
It applies to companies that have at least 50 employees within 75 miles of each other. You must meet two requirements to be covered:
- You must have worked for a minimum of 1,250 hours in the previous year
- You must have worked for your employer for at least one year
You can continue to receive disability leaves while on medical leave. FMLA is the most important form of job protection for employees with disabilities.
If you have been fired wrongly while on medical leave, consider working with an employment attorney in Newark NJ. The Law Offices of Usmaan Sleemi are happy to help. We have a team of experienced and passionate lawyers that will help you defend your rights. Contact us today and get a free consultation.