The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) extends a variety of protections and rights to many employees, salaried or hourly. It can grant a total of 12 months of unpaid leave after an employee or a close family member suffers a serious health condition or injury, or to care for a newborn. The concept behind the FMLA is allowing someone to take care of personal medical situations without having to fear that they will have no job to come back to once they are ready to return to work.
The FMLA is not all-encompassing, though. It is possible that an employee can be terminated while on approved medical leave.
You can be terminated while on FMLA-provided medical leave due to:
- Regular termination circumstances: Being placed on medical leave doesn’t grant you a new level of immunity from situations that would have regularly led to your termination. For example, misconduct that affects the workplace or direct insubordination can get you fired right away, whether you were on the job or on medical leave. If your company needs to downsize and lays of a percentage of employees, being on medical leave does not make you exempt from selection. Pay close attention to the reasoning your employer uses when choosing to terminate you while you are on medical leave, as any sign of discrimination for being on leave violates your FMLA rights…
- Illegal firing: …which brings the discussion to the second reason you could be terminated on medical leave: prohibited or illegal termination. Any employer can fire any employee at any time and for any reason – but they must be ready for the legal backlash of any termination that is illegal, unjustified, or discriminatory. If you are told that you have been fired for being on medical or family leave, don’t claim that it is illegal and go back to your workplace expecting to be able to just pick up where you left off like nothing happened. Instead, get ready to create a legal claim in response.
Buckley Beal LLP and our team of highly-experienced employment law attorneys in Atlanta, Georgia can help you stand up for your rights after you are terminated following suspicious circumstances. Call 404.471.3725 to speak with our staff and request an initial case evaluation to begin your case in pursuit of compensation.