Facing an illness can be unexpected and also uncertain. While your main goal is to restore your health, you may also be worried about losing your job and your income. If your employer has fired you because you have been sick or are currently battling a disease or illness, you have certain rights under employment law, including FMLA and the American's With Disabilities Act. Here are some steps to take if you feel like you've been wrongfully fired from your job because of an illness.
Know And Understand Your Rights
If you've been absent from work due to a medical condition, you will need to prove that you've been physically unable to perform your job duties by presenting a signed work release form from your doctor. This is the first step in making sure you'll be eligible for FMLA. FMLA is referred to as the Family and Medical Leave Act. This act gives you certain rights under the law that will protect you from losing your job completely while you are sick or caring for a loved one who is ill. The act allows for 12 weeks of unpaid time off per year. There are some requirements to meet, including having worked at least 1250 hours for the past 12 months in order to qualify. If your employer has fired you, due to a medical condition that has prevented you from working, you should contact an employment law firm right away to see if you're covered by the FMLA.
Obtain Your Medical Records
You will need copies and documentation of your medical records and a medical certification from a doctor to begin the application for FMLA. Before you meet with an employment law attorney, gather your records and bring them to your first appointment. Examples of proofs may include:
- Recent doctor's visits
- Prior or existing hospitalization related to your current illness
- Proof of physical therapy or occupational therapy sessions
- Documentation of your injury or illness in your own words
Keep in mind that your employer does not need to review your actual medical records, they should only require proof of the medical certification. Your attorney will use all of this information to help you build your case against your employer.
File For Unemployment Compensation
Being fired or wrongfully terminated because you were ill, shouldn't mean you lose out on unemployment compensation benefits. If you're not getting any compensation such as vacation pay or short-term disability pay from your workplace, you may want to file for unemployment. Filing for unemployment gives you a platform to voice your position on why you lost your job and why you feel you shouldn't have been fired. If your employer disputes your claim, consult with an employment law firm specializing in unemployment cases.
Pursue Possible Court Action
If you've spoken with your employer and they refuse to let you return to work or hire you back in a lower paying position, be sure to tell your employment law attorney. Your attorney may recommend that you file a lawsuit against your employer for wrongful termination. There are laws place to protect employees who become disabled or injured that require job restructuring and special accommodations once they return to work. You may fit this criteria. Your lawyer will discuss your situation with you and determine if you have a case to present to the court.
For more information, contact John Franco Law or a similar firm.