Can my employer fire me while I'm on disability leave?There are some things we have control over in our lives and there are some things simply out of our hands. Unfortunately, there are times when we cannot control our disability status and instead we learn to live with it every day. Part of living with a disability may include the necessity of taking time off work. As a necessity, disability leave is vital, and an employer under the law, cannot fire you because of it. The California Labor Law Employment Attorneys Group has extensive experience and knowledge of your rights as an employee on disability leave and will fight for you to get your job back and receive compensation for any other losses.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was established in 1990 to protect citizens with disabilities in all facets of public life such as school, transportation, work, and public and private places that are open to the general public. The act is meant to level the playing field for all citizens by providing equal access and opportunities for those that are disabled. There are 5 sections to the law, and Title I focuses on employment. Here, the goal is to provide equal employment opportunities and benefits in the work place for those with disabilities. This applies to companies with 15 or more employees and requires the employer to provide reasonable accommodations to those that qualify. A reasonable accommodation is considered a change that helps a disabled employee perform their job as long as it is not too extensively difficult for the employer. The three ways in which the law defines a disability is if someone has a physical or mental condition that limits them from being able to perform daily tasks, if they have a history of a disability, or if they have a physical or mental impairment that is not transitory.

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requires employers to allow employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave with the important notion that your job is guaranteed after those 12 weeks when you return. If you’ve been fired while on disability leave, then your employer has violated your rights, however it’s important make sure that your qualify to be protected under the FMLA. The requirements to be covered under this law are that the employer must have at least 50 employees, and the employee must have worked at least 1,250 hours within the last year and live within a 75 mile radius of the job site. The FMLA prohibits any sort of retaliation against an employee who exercises their rights, indicating you may be eligible to sue your employer if you have faced or face negative job repercussions after returning from your leave as well.

Reasonable Accommodation Laws in the California Workplace

The California Family Rights Act (CFRA) is a state law that extends FMLA coverage to other situations. If you were not covered under the FMLA, you may still be covered under the State law. A few differences between the State and Federal laws are that domestic partners are also covered under CFRA, and domestic partners equal to a spouse are included. The requirement for employing 50 or more people who to have worked at least 1,250 hour within the last 12 months is the same for both laws. The CFRA finds the reasons eligible to take the 12 week unpaid leave to be for the birth of a child, the required care of an immediate family member with a serious health condition, or for a serious health condition that prevents one from being able to do their job effectively. Your employer is not required to pay your for those 12 weeks, but they must allow you to use any accrued paid time off. A serious health condition according to the law is defined as an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that requires a period of incapacity or treatment during or after inpatient care; a period of incapacity to go to work, school, or carry out other daily activities for more than 3 consecutive days; ongoing treatment for a chronic illness; or dental or plastic surgery due to an accident. So certain disabilities can fall under these categories which could mean potential protection for disability leave under the CFRA. Your job or a job with similar duties is guaranteed when you return. If the position no longer exists, the law requires your employer to offer a position comparable. If you have been fired while on leave and you are protected under the FMLA and/or CFRA, then your rights have been violated and you should not hesitate to file a charge against your employer.

How to Handle California FEHA Reasonable Accommodation Requests

Reasonable Accommodation Laws in the California WorkplaceThe California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) is another state law that you may be covered under. The FEHA requires an employer to only employ 5 or more people, and there is no minimum requirement for how long you have been at your job. Any employee is eligible. The FEHA is requires employers to provide reasonable accommodation for their disabled employees, even if that means longer than 12 weeks for disability leave. If you qualify under both FMLA and FEHA you are able to use them in conjunction with each other, extending your leave past 12 weeks.

“Reasonable accommodation” Defined under California Law

If you were fired while taking disability leave specifically for childbirth, you are protected under California Pregnancy Disability Leave (PDL). This applies to employees who work at a company that employs 5 or more people. If you acquired a disability due to pregnancy, you are eligible to receive up to 4 months of leave, which do not need to be taken consecutively. While pregnancy itself is not considered a disability, there are ways to identify if you have rendered a disability due to pregnancy or childbirth. A doctor must prove that you are unable to perform essential job functions because of your pregnancy. The usual time for a woman to no longer be able to conduct regular work functions is around 36 weeks, but a doctor may advise for earlier due to severe morning sickness, prenatal care, postnatal care, the need for bed rest, pregnancy-induced hypertension, preeclampsia, post-partum depression, loss or end of pregnancy, or the recovering from loss of end of pregnancy. Much like the FMLA and CFRA, PDL requires job reinstatement to the same or similar job after the leave is over, meaning your employer cannot fire you while on leave.

Do not let your violated rights go unheard. You deserve to exercise your labor rights under the Federal and California law. The California Labor Law Employment Group would like to help you retaliate against unjust employers. Come in to our office or call now to schedule a free consultation where we will evaluate your case. We provide a zero-fee guarantee, meaning you do not have to pay a single penny unless we win your case. Top attorneys in Los Angeles are waiting to meet you and help you on your road to justice!