Can I Be Fired During Disability Leave?

Leaves of absence December 19th, 2023
disability leave disability leave

If you are like many workers, you might wonder if you can be fired while on disability leave.

The answer is – it’s complicated. Fortunately, our employment lawyers at D.Law can help you determine if your employer may legally fire you while taking disability leave.

Employment Lawyer Discusses Wrongful Termination and Disability Leave in California

When it comes to terminating employment, California is an “at will” state. This means employers can fire any worker for just about any reason – or for no specific reason at all.

Despite being an at-will state, California does protect employees from termination in some circumstances. For example, employers cannot terminate someone based solely on their gender, race or otherwise having a legally protected status. What’s more, they cannot fire someone for reporting harassment or discrimination, or for exercising another legally-protected right.

California regulations also grant certain rights to workers when it comes to being on leave for a disability or injury.

Federal law offers some level of protection for workers

If you want to take time off to address a medical problem or to tend to an immediate family member with a health issue, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) offers some protection. According to this act, if certain prerequisites are satisfied, your employer must allow you to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year to deal with your own or your family member’s needs, as long as you request and use the leave properly.

If you extend your leave beyond the initial 12 weeks, though, your employer can legally terminate you. Your boss can also require that you use your 12 weeks of FMLA leave while you receive disability payments if you take time off.

It’s important to note that the FMLA does not apply to all employers. The law only applies to companies with more than 50 employees who work within 75 miles of one another. FMLA also applies only to employees who have worked for the employer for at least a year, and who have worked at least 1,250 hours within the previous year. If you work for a small business, FMLA may not protect you.

But What If I’m On Disability?

Suffering a serious injury at work or outside of work may render you disabled, which means the disability prevents you from performing your regular work. If your injury prevents you from performing one or more major life activities, such as working, you may be covered under either short-term or long-term disability insurance. While the insurance may cover you financially, your job may not necessarily be protected. 

Contact D.Law if You Been Fired During Disability Leave

If your employer fired you during your disability leave and you feel it was a case of wrongful termination, contact D.Law. Our California employment lawyers can help you determine if your termination was legal, and recommend an effective course of action to protect your job. Call D.Law today at 818) 275-5799 for a free consultation. We’re here to help!

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