If I was terminated at my job while I was on a leave of absence for a cardiac procedure, can I sue the company?

Asked on February 16, 2013 under Employment Labor Law, New York


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

It depends on why you were terminated. If--

1) You were terminated because you had a heart condition (disability discrimination);

2) You were terminated for being away from work, but were using PTO (e.g. sick leave) you had accumulated, using FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act) leave for which both you and the employer were eligible, or were on a leave of absence (paid or unpaid) which your company had approved

--then you would seem to have a cause of action. An employer may not fire you for having a medical condition or using some form of approved absence.

On the other hand, if your absence was not approved (including that you had some approved absence, but stayed away longer than you should have), you could be fired for unauthorized absence. You could also be terminated for reasons unconnected to the medical condition or leave, such as poor performance, insubordination, violating company policy, downsizing/restructuring, etc. Being out on leave or having a medical condition does not protect you from being terminated for other reasons.

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 AttorneyPages.com 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.