Does My Company Have to Hold My Job While I’m on Medical Leave? By Gregory Thyberg on April 05, 2023

Newborn in the hospitalWhen a person experiences a medical emergency or the illness of a family member, they may require time off work to heal or assist a loved one through recovery. Job security is the last thing a person should worry about during these times.

State and federal laws protect workers on leave to care for a sick family member. Protections include job security. Employers who fire workers on approved medical leave may face wrongful termination claims. Lawyer Gregory Thyberg helps Sacramento, CA, workers understand their right to job security while on medical leave to care for a sick family member and explains their options if their employee rights are violated.

Protections Under the Family and Medical Leave Act

On the federal level, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) gives workers the right to unpaid leave to deal with their own serious medical condition, care for family members experiencing a serious medical condition, or bond with a new child. Employees qualify for FMLA if their employer has 50 or more employees in a 75-mile radius, they have worked for the employer for 12 months or more, and they have worked at least 1,250 hours within the past 12 months.

In addition to allowing up to 12 weeks of unpaid medical leave, the FMLA provides job protection. The act requires employers to hold a worker’s job while they are on approved medical leave. Upon returning from FMLA, workers must be reinstated to their position or a comparable job.

Protections Under the California Family Rights Act

California workers are further protected by the California Family Rights Act (CFRA). Employees in Sacramento and across the state are eligible for CFRA leave if their employer has five or more employees, they have worked for their employer for at least 12 months, and they worked at least 1,250 hours within the past 12 months.

Just like FMLA, CFRA allows workers to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to deal with a serious medical condition or care for a family member experiencing a serious medical condition. While on CFRA leave, a worker’s job is protected. An employer must reinstate the employee to their previous position when medical leave is complete, or they must provide a comparable job.

Are There Exceptions to Job Protection?

A worker can only lose their job while on FMLA or CFRA leave in limited circumstances unrelated to the leave. For instance, if a company has layoffs while a worker is on approved medical leave, they may be included in the layoff.

What Should I Do If My Company Doesn’t Hold My Job?

In most cases, termination while on approved medical leave is a violation of employment rights. Workers fired while on approved medical leave should contact a knowledgeable employment law attorney, such as Gregory Thyberg, to discuss their legal options. A wrongful termination claim can likely be filed to pursue compensation for related losses.

Contact Us

If you lost a job while on medical leave to care for a sick family member, you may be due compensation for economic and non-economic losses. To discuss the details of your termination with Gregory Thyberg, send us a message online or call our Sacramento law office at (916) 204-9173 and schedule a case review.

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Thyberg Law

Since 1981, Gregory A. Thyberg has been providing legal services to clients throughout Sacramento. With a focus on employment law, he can help you find a solution when facing discrimination, harassment, or other workplace injustices. Mr. Thyberg is affiliated with organizations like the:

  • California Bar Association
  • San Francisco Trial Lawyer’s Association

If you're experiencing unlawful discrimination in the workplace, request a consultation with Mr. Thyberg or call (916) 204-9173.

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