While on temporary disability can I get terminated then rehired as a new employee?

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While on temporary disability can I get terminated then rehired as a new employee?

I worked in a hair salon for 6 months. I was told by my doctor that I needed knee surgery. I collected 6 weeks worth of disability checks. I sent in all the necessary paperwork to the corporate office and to disability. They terminated me saying that they never received the paperwork even though I sent it in. They must have gotten it because disability approved me to collect. I returned to work and worked for 3 weeks before they told me I was terminated 5 weeks prior. They rehired me and said I am starting over in the company. All the time I put in is gone. Can they get away with that? Should I speak with an employment law attorney? In Middlesex County, NJ.

Asked on May 3, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, New Jersey

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you should speak with an employment law attorney to see what your rights are. You need to be aware that disability is not the same thing as protected leave (e.g. leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act). Disability is a way of receiving some payment or compensation when being unable to work. It does not necessarily entitle you to be away from work without any consequence, such as the way FMLA allows you to take up to 12 weeks (assuming both you and your employer meet the criteria for eligibility) away from work. Thus, the fact that you received disability while unable to work does not necessarily mean that the employer did anything wrong in terminating, then rehiring you. That said, it is worth consulting with an employment attorney who can evaluate your situation in detail.

 


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