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

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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

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 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.


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