Can a employer terminate you without notice and while you are on FMLA?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can a employer terminate you without notice and while you are on FMLA?

I was suspended due to an investigation then terminated without notice or seperation papers. I was granted FMLA leave a week prior to my suspension.

Asked on May 24, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, California


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Whether or not you can be fired while on FMLA, depends on the reason why. An employer is generally prohibited from terminating a worker because they are on leave under the FMLA. In fact, job protection is the whole point of the Act, however there are several circumstances under which an employer can legally discharge an employee. First, if they are so high up in management that the company can't afford to do without their job function for an extended period of time, or the condition that created the need for FMLA leave might leave them permanently unable to do the essential functions of their job. Second, the employer is permitted to dismiss a worker if it has nothing to do with the fact that they are on FMLA. And such seems to be the case is your situation. That having been said, you may be afforded some protection under the terms of either a union agreement or employment contract, if any. At this point, you can directly contact a local employment law attorney for futher advice.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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