Can you be terminated from employment due to being on medical leave?

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Can you be terminated from employment due to being on medical leave?

I have been terminated from my job due to being on medical leave for a severe medical condition. I have lost my insurance and they are supposed to hire me back when I am able. However they are trying to hire my sister and they have said that if she is working there they cannot take me back.This didn’t sound right to me.

Asked on April 10, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Michigan

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If you are on Family and Medical Act (FMLA) leave and have complied with all requirements under it, you may not be terminated for having used the leave.

Or if you had the prior agreement of the employer to take leave (only took leave after clearing it with the employer) and/or used paid time off (e.g. sick days) which you accrued to cover  your leave, they cannot terminate you, so long as you have remained within the bounds of the agreement and/or the amount of PTO you had.

If any of the above is the case and you are terminated, you may have a cause of action and should speak with an employment law attorney.

However, if you are not using FMLA leave (or you or your employer are not covered by it--go to the U.S. Department of Labor website to see eligibility, but basically, the employer must have at least 50 employees, and you must have worked there for at least 12 months total, including 1250 hours during the last 12 months), did not have prior approval of leave, and/or are not using PTO you earned as part of your compensation--that is, if you simply told your employer you were going to be out without using PTO, FMLA leave, or getting the employer's agreement to your absence--then you may be terminated. The law does not protect employees from termination for  missing work due to illness-related absences, except as  above.


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