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What You Need to Know about Employee and Medical Leave

Employment Laws are often complicated to understand and comply. One of the most heard and reported complaints and queries are about the unlawful termination due to medical leave. While some accept their fate, some do protest against wrongful termination. For those who take a backseat after getting terminated, it’s time to make your legal game strong and strive for your rights. There are specific laws like FMLA, ADA or COBRA to help you do so.

How does FMLA help?

FMLA or Family And Medical Leave Act is a law established that governs the leave of absence on medical grounds.

In New York, all employees are hired as at-will employees which suggests that they can be fired at the will of the employer, provided the reason behind is genuine and legal. Therefore, employment termination for medical reasons is illegal as according to the FMLA.

However, it is possible to be fired when on a medical leave but not due to it. As goes according to the FMLA, an employee is eligible for a leave only after working for the employer for a minimum of 1250 hours over the span of the 12 months. These laws are applicable to employers and employees from almost all the sectors including private agencies.

However, there are certain limitations one needs to keep in mind the FMLA allows the employees to take a leave for medical reason that renders them unable to do their regular job for a time period of 12 weeks. During that time their job and position in their job is secured as the law suggests that the employers restore the same job position for the employees once they rejoin after the FMLA leave.  If the exact same position is not available, then the employer at least has to give them a position which is nearly equal to their previous position in terms of pay, conditions and other benefits. On the other hand if the leave, even if it is for medical reasons, extends for more than what the FMLA permits, that is more than 12 weeks, then the employee can be fired on legal grounds.

No matter what underlying disability or medical issue causes an employee to take a leave that has to be informed to the employer beforehand. Otherwise taking a leave without any prior information can be enough of a reason for an employer to terminate the employee.

How does ADA work?

Another law namely ADA or Americans with Disability Act plays a role in governing the medical leaves, alongside FMLA. It has been established especially to secure the jobs of disabled employee. The act makes a clear statement that employees can’t be terminated simply because of their disability. ADA also makes sure that there is on form of discrimination among the disabled employees and the privileged ones. The Terms and conditions of ADA are applicable for both part time and full time employees.

The ADA also mentions that an employee with disability must be provided with an accommodation which is an adjustment made to the workplace to suit the needs of the disabled employee to work efficiently. Sadly though, most employers deny providing the accommodation to the disabled employees.

In spite of the existing Acts like FMLA or ADA to ensure job protection, there have been a lot of cases of employers getting fired after disability or because of medical reasons. And this continues to thrive even to this day. In such cases, the employees are open to file legal report against their employers for wrongfully terminating them. The employees also can have claim for unlawful interference with their FMLA rights if the employers deny restoring their previous or equivalent position in their job. The unlawfully terminated employee can launch a written complaint to the Law office. This can be better done with the help from a professional unemployment attorney for a quicker recovery.

Maintenance of health insurance after termination

An employee, who is already terminated (not necessarily for their medical leave), might be worried for their health insurance. There is a law especially made for this purpose of maintain the health insurances of terminated employees. The law is named COBRA or Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act.

COBRA offers the opportunity to sustain the health insurances of the terminated employees for a specific period of time which is mostly short. However, the law only stands until the employees pay their full coverage for their insurance. Also COBRA is applicable only to those employers who have a minimum of 20 workers.  Another backdrop is COBRA is fairly expensive to afford, but then again, it is probably the only feasible option available for the terminated employees.

There are several ways to receive the rightful, if you have been unlawfully terminated on any ground. With this basic legal knowledge about the job protection acts, it gets easier to find the right solution and do the needful. So, Hopefully this turns useful.

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