When you’ve suffered an injury that prevents you from working, you probably have two major concerns. First, you want to be able to support yourself and your family until you can return to work. Second, you want to know you will have a job to return to once your injury has healed.
Many people who are unable to work because of an injury apply for either long-term or short-term disability benefits, both of which can help you survive while you heal. However, surprisingly, these programs do not provide job protection, leaving many to wonder if they can be fired while on disability. Find out if you can be fired while on leave with disability and learn why you should consider consulting with an attorney after a serious injury.
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
While neither long-term or short-term disability provide job protection, workers are protected by a federal law known as the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Under the FMLA, employees are entitled to twelve weeks of unpaid leave that they can use to deal with their own medical issues or the ailments of a family member.
Unfortunately, not every workplace is beholden to FMLA rules, which means certain employees will not have access to this leave when they suffer an ailment or injury. For a workplace to be subject to the FMLA, it must have 50 or more employees that work within 75 miles of each other. To receive FMLA leave, the employees need to have been employed for a year and have worked at least 1,250 hours in the previous year.
While taking FMLA leave due to an injury, you can also receive short-term or long-term disability benefits. If you eligible for FMLA leave, your employer cannot fire you unless your leave has exceeded the 12 weeks provided by the law. If you take more than 12 weeks of leave, your job may be at risk.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
Most employees work on an at-will basis, meaning they can be fired at almost any time, for any reason. However, under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), it is illegal to terminate employees who qualify as disabled under this law. This can include employees who are on disability leave and receiving benefits.
Both mental and physical impairments are covered by the ADA, and for an employer to be subject to this act, an employer must have 15 or more workers. Employers must make accommodations for disabled employees unless these accommodations constitute an undue hardship, which the employer must prove before terminating the disabled employee.
When You Can and Can’t Be Fired
Now that you know more about the FMLA and ADA, it’s time to examine when you can and can’t be fired.
If you are taking FMLA leave, you cannot be fired, regardless of whether you’re able or not to perform your duties under the ADA. If you are able to do your job with the right accommodations but your employer has not provided these accommodations, you cannot be fired.
However, if you do not return to work after exhausting your FMLA leave, your employer can fire you. You can also be fired if you don’t notify your employer that you’re taking FMLA leave or violate their sick leave policy. If you cannot do your job, even with accommodations, or if you don’t return to work after accommodations have been made, you can be fired.
Hire an Attorney
If your employer fires you against the rules of the FMLA or ADA, then you need legal representation from the Law Offices of Dr. Bill LaTour. We’ve been helping disabled individuals in the Greater Los Angeles area, the Inland Empire, and Orange County get the disability benefits they need for years. Call Dr. Bill LaTour and his team today at 800-803-5090 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation.