Is it possible to be laid off while on approved FMLA leave due to organizational restructuring in a large company?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Is it possible to be laid off while on approved FMLA leave due to organizational restructuring in a large company?

I work for a large company that is in the middle of organizational restructuring, and I have been on a medical leave of absence and on short term disability since the end of November. I was called yesterday to tell me of my separation from the company and that they would send paperwork in the mail. They said they would have had me come into work to receive this news but my current conditions restricts me from travel pending clearance from my doctor. They said I would receive a severance package which I have the option of accepting, but now due to my medical condition, I cannot look for other work or even interview, and now at the end of the month my medical coverage will be terminated,

and with my health condition I am routinely in and out of hospitals and doctors, where having health insurance is extremely critical for me at this time. Is my employer in any violation or is there anything possible I can do?

Asked on January 18, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, New York


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

The Family and Medical Leave Act gives you up to 12 weeks leave and prevents you from being fired/terminated for using that leave; however, it does not prevent termination for unrelated reasons, whether provable "for cause" grounds related to you personaly or for broader organizational changes/restructuring. If this is a legitimate restructuring, they can terminate you; if you believe it is a pretext or excuse to fire you due to your leave (e.g. only *you* are being restructured) contact the state department of leave to file a complaint.

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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