Is Heart Disease Protected Under the FMLA?
It is illegal for an employer to wrongfully terminate an employee or to wrongfully discriminate against an employee based on an unlawful reason. A lot of people who have heart problems find themselves unable to get a job because of the bias against people with heart disease. If you believe you have faced illegal discrimination at work, our wrongful termination lawyers and discrimination lawyers can sue your employer. It is important that you retain the services of the right attorney, someone who is not only compassionate, but also someone who has years of experience in employment law.
The heart is one of the most important organs in our body: it is responsible for making us fall in love and pumping oxygen-rich blood to every single cell in our body. Indeed, without it, life would not be the same. And so it is unfortunate that the leading cause of death in the United States is heart disease. The American diet and exercise regiment (or, lack thereof) punishes our heart and leads to heart problems as we age. The heart is a major organ, and because it is so important, it is of the utmost importance that you receive medical treatment as quickly as possible if there is an issue of the heart.
What does this mean for the average American worker? It means that at any given moment, they may have to take a leave of absence from work to deal with any heart issues that may arise. Of those who have to take medical leave, they may wonder about their employment status and whether or not they will have their job when they return. The Family Medical Leave Act gives employees the right to take a certain amount of time to deal with any serious illness which requires medical attention, without having to worry about their job security.
Our lawyers are here to make sure that no bad employment-deed goes unpunished. Our main offices are in Los Angeles but we are active across the state of California so whether you are in Los Angeles or outside Los Angeles, you can contact us to get a free consultation. If you believe that your employer has wrongfully disciplined you for taking time off to deal with the pressing heart issue, then you have the grounds to file a lawsuit against your employer.
- Can you be fired for having heart disease?
- My employer terminated me because of heart disease. Can I sue?
- My boss let me go because I had heart disease. Can he legally do that? Is this wrongful termination?
- Is heart disease considered a disability?
- Is heart disease covered under the ADA?
What Laws Protect Employees If They Get Heart Disease?
Cardiac events and stroke are sudden occurrences and can take some time from which to fully recover and get back to a normal life. This means that during your recovery, you will likely have to miss work. For many hard-working Americans, attendance is mandatory in their job and can be punished with termination and that is something they can’t afford. So how does heart disease affect their employment?
Under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), workers with serious medical conditions are protected from any unlawful retaliation, punishment, or dismissal by their employer. The FMLA is a federal medical leave program which is intended to protect employees if they ever need to take time off to deal with a serious medical issue. Employers cannot terminate their employees if they exercise their right to take leave for their illness. The employee is also allowed to take leave to take care of immediate family members like their child, spouse, or parent.
As the heart is critical to existing, it is considered a serious illness and is covered by the FMLA. “Serious condition” is defined, by the FMLA, as that condition which meets one of the following six categories:
- Having a debilitating illness for more than three days and continue to receive medical treatment by a health care provider;
- Permanent or long-term debilitating illness;
- Conditions that require several treatments to treat;
- Incapacity due to pregnancy or childbirth care;
- Chronic serious health condition;
- Inpatient care.
Your employer must have at least 50 employees, and must have worked for your employer for at least a 12-month period or have worked a total of 1,250 hours – this time does not have to be consecutive. If you meet all of these requirements, you have the right to 12 weeks every 12-month period.
You are required to tell your employer 30 days in advance before you have to take your medical leave – if it is possible to do so. Sudden events that require immediate medical attention are exempt, but you are required to tell your employer as soon as possible in order to remove any confusion.
What Happens When I Return to Work?
When you have taken the necessary time to recover from your heart-related disease and get the “go-ahead” from the doctor to resume your work, your employer must reinstate you to your previous position. If it is not available, the position to which they reinstate you must be nearly identical to your previous position. If you were under consideration for a promotion, bonus, or any other benefit, your employer must consider you as if you had never left. For instance, if you were for sure about to get a promotion and suddenly had a heart attack from which you needed a few weeks to recover, your employer must give you the promotion upon your return. Your illness cannot be used against you; doing so is a violation of the law and may give you the right to file a lawsuit against your employer under the FMLA. Likewise, if you have taken time off to take care of an ill immediate family member, your employer must reinstate you to your previous position and seniority status upon your return.
If you believe that your employer has violated the law, you may have the grounds to file a lawsuit against them. Since your employer violated the FMLA, you have the option to file a charge through the Department of Labor (DOL), but it is not required. Get in contact with employment lawyers in order to understand what next steps are available to you.
Zero Fee Guarantee and Free Consultation
Our attorneys at the California Labor Law Employment Attorneys Group are here to make sure that justice is served if your employer disregards the law if you have heart disease and exercise the rights which are granted to you through the FMLA. We offer free consolation and a zero-fee guarantee, which removes any financial risk from you. If we don’t win, you don’t pay for our services! If we do win, we only collect a small fee from the amount that was awarded.