I am going to be off work for mental problems.

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I am going to be off work for mental problems.

I have had severe depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts. I am going to have my doctor commit me. I have paid for short term disablity every week out of my check. Can they deny me of that and fire me? I live in Arkansas and work at the corporate office for 16 dealerships doing accounting. I have been employed 4-5 months.

Asked on February 5, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Arkansas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Short term disability is payments which compensate for being unable to work, but short term disability does not itself prevent termination for absenteeism (being out of work). You can be terminated for missing work while on short term disability unless:
1) You also took FMLA leave, in which case you can take up 12 weeks of leave without losing your job. Your employer would have to be covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act (at least 50 employees within a 75-mile radius), you would have to be eligible (worked at this job at least one year; worked at least 1,250 hours in the last 12 months), and you would have had to ask for FMLA leave.
OR
2) The reason you took leave or missed work is that you requested reasonable accommodations to do your job (which accommodations truly were reasonable--not too expensive or disruptive for your employer, and they let you do the essential functions of your job despite your condition) but they were refused by the employer, forcing you to stop working. 
OR
3) You had and used enough paid time off, like sick or vacation days, to cover your absence.
But if you could not or did not use FMLA leave, could not or did not use PTO, and were not prevented from working by your employer's failure to make a reasoanble accommodation, then you could be terminated for missing work.


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