Can you be terminated while on FMLA?

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Can you be terminated while on FMLA?

While on FMLA leave, I was informed that my contract was being terminated for violation of the terms. However FMLA leave states you must be returned to the same job and position with the same rate of pay; terminating my contract meant a different position and change in pay for me.

Asked on June 17, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Illinois

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If an employee is out on FMLA then they cannot be fired or have a change in position/salary simply for being out.  That having been said, if their termination/job change is due to another reason unrelated to the one that they were out on leave for, then yes it is legal. In your case, according to your employer, your situation was caused by job performance issues. A legitimate reason, whether or not FMLA was involved.

As a general rule an employer can hire/fire an employee for any reason or no reason at all.  That is, so long as the employee is an "at will" employee.  Therefore unless you had a union agreement to the contrary, or this action violated company policy, or was the result of discrimination, you have no claim. Also, you may be afforded protection by the terms of your employment contract. However you were in violation of that contract. Or at least that is what your employer alleges. Without more facts of the case it's hard to be certain. At this point you should consult with an employment law attorney and explain the details of your situation. Be sure to bring a copy of your contract with you. 


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