Terminated after Short-term Disability: What to Do
When an employee goes on short-term disability as a result of a non-job related condition, they often believe that their job is protected. This may or may not be the case, depending on the circumstances.
Individuals in the Daytona Beach, FL, and Palm Cost, FL, area who have been terminated after short-term disability can work with workplace discrimination lawyers at Chanfrau & Chanfrau to determine if their employment rights have been violated. If they have, they may be due financial compensation for related damages.
Can I Be Terminated after Short-term Disability?
Florida is one of many states that follows the premise of at-will employment. This means that both employers and employees are legally able to terminate employment at any time without providing any reason. The termination is valid as long as it is not in violation of existing employment laws. This is where things can get tricky in terms of short-term disability.
If an employee is receiving short-term disability benefits, they often believe that their job is protected. However, short-term disability insurance does not provide job protections, which means that, technically speaking, a worker may be legally fired after a short-term disability. However, this all depends on the circumstances of the situation. Both the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) provide protections that may make it illegal for a worker to be terminated after short-term disability.
Protections Under the FMLA
The FMLA permits eligible workers to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave within a 12 month period to address personal medical issues or those of immediate family members. In addition to allowing workers time off, FMLA guarantees that a worker's job is protected while they are on leave. Upon return from FMLA, a worker’s employer must return them to their previous position, or one that is comparable in rank or pay. If a worker is on approved FMLA leave to address short-term disability, and they are terminated upon their return, it can be seen as workplace discrimination or retaliation, both of which are illegal.
Protections Under the ADA
The ADA is another law that could provide workers with job protections related to short-term disability. The ADA makes it illegal for an employer to fire a worker because of a disability, which is defined as any physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity. These protections apply to individuals with short- or long-term disability.
Even if a worker is unable to perform job duties as a result of their disability, the ADA ensures their right to request reasonable accommodations from their employer. Unless it would place an undue hardship on the business, employers are required to provide modifications that would allow the employee to do their job.
This may include providing assistive equipment/devices, modifying the worker’s schedule, or ensuring facilities are wheelchair accessible. If an employer chooses to terminate a worker after short-term disability, rather than provide reasonable accommodations, that is a violation of employment rights.
What to Do if Your Employment Rights Have Been Violated
Workers who believe that a termination after short-term disability was in violation of their employment rights should get in touch with a lawyer to discuss their situation. Employment law attorneys understand the protections provided to workers and can determine if a wrongful termination suit needs to be filed. If so, workers can pursue financial compensation for related damages, which may include lost wages, lost benefits, and emotional pain and suffering.
Contact Chanfrau & Chanfrau
If you have been terminated after taking short-term disability leave, lawyers at Chanfrau & Chanfrau can examine the details of your case to determine if you have grounds to file a lawsuit. To schedule a personal consultation with our attorneys, send us a message online, or call (386) 258-7313.