terminated during medical leave allowed?

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terminated during medical leave allowed?

have been out on medical leave and just received letter to remove retirement money from account. When I called they told me I had been terminated, surprise, surprise, I have been with them for 11 years. Do I have any options?

Asked on September 5, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

If by medical leave, you mean Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave to which you are entitled (i.e. you company is large enough to be covered and you are eligible), then you cannot be terminated while on leave because you are taking leave or due to the underlying medical condition. FMLA guarantees you up to 12 weeks of leave, assuming you can use it, without losing your job.
Or if you mean that you are using accumulated sick, vacation, or other PTO days to cover you absence, you again cannot be terminated for being out on leave. 
Or you could use a combination of FMLA leave and various types of PTO to cover your absence.
But if you are out of work without using FMLA leave or PTO, then you can be terminated for missing work (absenteeism), even if you are doing so for medical reason. Only the use of FMLA or PTO lets you miss work without losing your job.
Note that even if are on FMLA leave or using PTO, you can  be terminated for unrelated (i.e. not related to your medical condition or leave) good cause, such as if you were found out to have stolen from work, to have assaulted another employee or customer, to have lied (e.g. about your resume, to get hired), etc. FMLA and PTO does not protect you from all termination, just that relating to being out from work.


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