Long-term Disability and Termination of Employment
By Gregory Thyberg on April 02, 2020
Like many others, California is an at-will employment state. Despite this status, there are numerous local and federal laws that protect workers from discrimination and wrongful termination. Unfortunately, many employees are unsure of their rights. Things can be especially confusing when an illness or injury suddenly leaves a person unable to work, as is the case with long-term disability.
Employment law attorney Gregory Thyberg can help his Sacramento, CA, clients recognize disability discrimination, and explore their right to financial compensation for resulting losses. Here, we answer some frequently asked questions regarding long-term disability and termination of employment to give people a better understanding of their legal rights.
What Are My Rights Regarding Long-term Disability?
Most people who suffer from an illness or injury that leaves them temporarily unable to work are eligible for the Family and Medical Leave Act, or FMLA. An employee can apply for FMLA as long as they have been employed for at least 12 months and have worked at least 1,250 hours during that timeframe.
FMLA provides workers with 12 weeks of unpaid leave each year for family and medical reasons. FMLA leave would typically begin after an employee had exhausted any eligible sick leave. Although an employee does not have to be paid while they are on FMLA leave, their job is protected.
What If I Am Ready to Return to Work and My Job Is Gone?
A key aspect of FMLA leave is job protection. If a worker is ready to return to work after their FMLA leave is complete, they should expect to return to their same position. If that position has been reassigned, the employer needs to offer a job that is nearly identical, meaning it offers equivalent pay and benefits.
What If I Need Accommodations to Return to Work?
Many of our Sacramento clients who suffer from long-term disability require certain accommodations to return to work. Rather than terminating an employee with a long-term disability, anti-discrimination laws require employers to make reasonable accommodations for the disability, if it will allow the employee to perform essential job duties, and as long as it does not place an undue hardship on the employer.
Reasonable accommodations may include job restructuring, a modified work schedule, reassignment to an equal-level job position, or modification of devices and equipment.
Can I Be Fired While on Long-term Disability?
The American Disability Act, or ADA, makes it illegal to terminate employment because of a disability. Unfortunately, laws do no specifically prevent someone from being fired while they are on long-term disability leave, as long as the termination is not related to the disability. For instance, an employer could fire someone while they were on long-term disability if they say the termination is related to job performance.
Should I Sue for Wrongful Termination?
Anyone who is fired while on long-term disability should consider working with attorney Gregory Thyberg to have their case investigated. Even if an employer claims that the termination was unrelated to the disability, our legal team may be able to gather evidence that proves otherwise. If we can demonstrate that our Sacramento clients have been victims of wrongful termination related to disability discrimination, they may be due financial compensation for lost pay and other damages.
If you have faced discrimination at work, or believe that you have been wrongfully terminated, attorney Gregory Thyberg and his team can help you explore your legal options. To discuss the details of your case, send us a message online at your earliest convenience or call (916) 204-9173.