What is the law regarding an employee who gave notice but then got sick?

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What is the law regarding an employee who gave notice but then got sick?

A friend had a stroke after giving notice but before starting her new job. She will not even be evaluated, let alone start rehab, before her start date. Should she just apply for disability? Legally does she have any way to keep the new job she hasn’t even started yet?

Asked on August 20, 2011 Illinois

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

She should speak with an employment attorney and/or an attorney who specializes in administrative law (e.g. disability; SSI), to see what her options are; every case like this is different and depends on its own unique facts. That said, here are some principals:

1) If she gave notice, she is not entitled to the old job (the one she'd given notice to) or to unemployment (since she quit or resigned).

2) The new employer may very well not have to let her start employment. While an employer may not discriminate against the disabled, it's only obligation is to make "reasonable accomodations," which are those which are not too costly or distruptive. From what you write, it will likely be months before she could possibly start work (since she won't even be evaluated until after what her start date should have been); under that circumstance, it is not reasonable for an employer to either pay her for not working or even to hold open a position they need to fill. She'll also be missing her start date, so breaching the agreement between her and the employer as to the work.


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