Terminated during a Mandatory Medical Leave

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Terminated during a Mandatory Medical Leave

My partner, until recently, worked as one of less than five employees for a sole proprietorship. He had been experiencing some minor health issues for a couple of months, and his boss forced him to take an unpaid week off from work to, I quote, get his medical shit figured out. My partner, B, took that time to make some appointments and speak to some doctors who got him all settled medically. On the eve before he was supposed to return to work, his boss terminated him, citing that he had hired someone to replace B while B was on this mandatory medical leave for lack of better wording. I am aware that sole proprietorships are not held to all the same legalities as larger businesses, but this unexpected termination will have a tremendous effect on my partner and I. Can he pursue legal action? With the information Ive given, is it likely that he could form a case?

Asked on October 9, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

Yes, your partner may have a wrongful termination and possibly also a  "disability" (medical condition) discrimination case. While your partner could not have unilaterally (without permission or direction) from his employer have missed work without using PTO for this absence(s), in this case, he was told by the employer to take time off: therefore, this was not unauthorized absence, which could make the termination wrongful. Further, if it appears that he was fired due to having a medical conditon, that would be disability-based discriminaton, too. Based on what you writem, it would be worthwhile for your partner to meet with an employment law attorney to discuss his case in detail.


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