Can I Be Fired While on Leave with a Disability?

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Sadly, you may have recently been made the victim of a catastrophic accident or otherwise received a medical diagnosis that now has you living with a serious disability. You may want nothing more than to return to work and continue making a living for yourself and your dependent family, but your current health status may not permit that just yet. This unfortunate sequence of events may even have a more devastating ending if you learn you are not welcomed into your former workplace upon fully recovering. Read on to discover whether it is legal to be fired from a job while on leave with a disability and how a seasoned FMLA lawyer in Gloucester County, New Jersey, at The Vigilante Law Firm, P.C., can help you understand your rights in the matter.

Is it legal to be fired from a job while on leave with a disability?

First things first, you must understand how the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) may work to protect you. Essentially, this Act is intended to provide employees with 12 weeks of unpaid leave in any 12-month period to recover from their medical issues, or to care for an immediate family member suffering from certain health problems.

However, you must understand that not every employee is protected under the FMLA. That is, they must work for an employer with 50 or more employees within 75 miles of one another. Then, an employee must have worked for at least one year for an employer. With this, they must have worked for at least 1,250 hours for an employer within the preceding year.

So, if you are not on FMLA leave, your employer may hold the legal right to fire you during your time off. Or, if you go over the 12 weeks of unpaid leave allotted by the FMLA, your employer may be justified in denying your return to your former position or a substantially similar position.

What else can protect me while on leave with a disability?

For one, the New Jersey Family Leave Act (NJFLA) may be more generous with the protections you are offered while on leave with a disability. That is, you may be provided 12 weeks of unpaid leave in any 24-month period. With this, you may qualify if your employer has at least 30 employees worldwide. Then, you must have only worked 1,000 hours in the past year.

But there is also the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) that may work in your favor. This is because this Act makes it illegal for your employer to fire you due to your disability. Rather, it requires that your employer make a reasonable accommodation. Such a reasonable accommodation may be to grant additional unpaid leave beyond what the FMLA and NJFLA offer.

If you are still unsure of your next move, resort to one of the competent New Jersey employment lawyers. Someone at The Vigilante Law Firm, P.C. will know exactly what legal option works in your best interest. So call our office today.

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