Is it legal if I was asked to resign my position as General Manager of a trucking company 2 days after I found out I needed to have surgery on my knee?

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Is it legal if I was asked to resign my position as General Manager of a trucking company 2 days after I found out I needed to have surgery on my knee?

The day before I was terminated, I advised my employer the date of the surgery and that I may

be out 1 day after but would not be able to be on the road selling 2 days a week for several weeks. I was offered 4 weeks pay to term it as a resignation and signed the letter but have 7 days to rescind. I also had a bonus structure in place for Q4 of last year which was communicated to me in Jan/Feb that since the company did not make any money in Q4, they were not paying. However, that was not a requirement on my bonus plan. Should I take the 4 weeks or push for more as I will not be able to actively look for a job for at least 2 weeks with my surgery and recovery time?

Asked on May 14, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Wisconsin

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Legally, if you believe you are being forced out due to your condition and surgery, this may well be illegal disability-based discrimination: an employer must make "reasonable accommodations" to employe medical conditions which impact the ability to work (like your knee, surgery, and recovery), and taking a few weeks off from selling on the road appears reasonable. If they are engaging in disability-based discrimination in trying to force you out, you may be able to get an order or settlement that they do not terminate you and/or receive monetary compensation. Whether it is worth it to take that tack--to pursue a discrimination claim, if necessary--or to take the money and go depends on whether you feel you could get a new job quickly enough that you'd come out even or ahead with eith the 4 weeks pay (or more, if you can negotiate more) or not.
If you had a written bonus structure with concrete targets which you hit and which bonus was not dependent in the company making money, then legally they have to pay you, and a failure to pay would be "breach of contract"--something you could sue over. 
You therefore may have two different legal claims here: disability-based discrimination and breach of contact. It would be well worth your while to consult with an employment law attorney to discuss these potential claims in detail and decide what to do.


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