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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    1

    Default Wrongful Termination After Taking Medical Leave

    My question involves labor and employment law for the state of: Michigan

    My son (32 yrs old, married, one child) went on short term disability in February. NOT under the family leave act, but on short term disability, in February 2008. He is a car salesman, also was working as the Leasing Manager, weekend Financial Manager, and Sales Manager as needed. He has worked for this company for 7 years and has been top sales person multiple times. He has sarcoidosis and has been being treated with mega doses of steroids for over 9 months, all that time, he was working even though he was not feeling well most of the time. His pulmonary doctor put him in short term disability because they have been trying to wean him off the steroids and this has been causing a lot of physical problems.

    My son was terminated as of April 1st. His employer did not notify him of the termination, he found out through the 401K company that they received a letter from him employer stating he was terminated as of April 1st. The owner/boss to this day has not contacted him regarding the termination. There was no reason for the termination, other than his current medical problem. The owner made 2 different verbal agreements with my son and his wife about continuing to contribute to their medical insurance and has since broken both those agreements.

    Isn't it against employee's rights to be terminated because of a disability? Sarcoidosis is an auto-immune disorder which can be aggravated by stress. This, of course, has caused him much stress and is not helping with his recovery.

    What can he do now. Does he have any legal course of action he can take against the employer for wrongful termination?

    Thank you

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    254

    Default Re: Wrongful Termination

    If your son doesn't qualify for FMLA, then what you have posted isn't a wrongful termination. He would have to have been terminated because of his race, gender, age, religion, etc.... Being on disability is just an income replacement plan, not job protection. Unless you son had something in a bindind contract about his employment and/or benefits, he is out of luck.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    1,179

    Default Re: Wrongful Termination

    Honestly, I would want confirmation directly from the company that he is terminated. I would not trust that information from the company to the 401k plan to him is correct. Or that a "termination" code on a 401k statement means that he was terminated from the company. Someone could have easily miscoded it in the 401k information.

    Has he been communicating with the dealership since he went out? Many companies require at least a minimum amount of communication while out on leave.

    If they truly did terminate him, it was not illegal unless he was eligible under FMLA. I agree they should have communicated it to him in a different way, but it was not illegal.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    200

    Default Re: Wrongful Termination

    I agree with hr for me that your son needs to contact his employer and determine whether he has been terminated and if so, why.

    The federal law, the ADA, prohibits discrimination based on a qualified disability. Whether a medical condition is a disability under the ADA is determined on a case-by-case basis. However, you haven't provided any information suggesting that your son has a qualified disability or his employer was aware of it. Did your son inform his employer that he believed his medical condition was a disability under the ADA and request as an accommodation for it, to take leave or go on short disability? Have other employees taken leaves of absences comparable to his and returned?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    24,521

    Default Re: Wrongful Termination

    Isn't it against employee's rights to be terminated because of a disability?

    It is illegal to terminate an employee BECAUSE he has a disability that makes him eligible for protection under the ADA.

    It is not illegal to terminate an employee who may be collecting disability benefits but has been unable to return to work after the term of medical leave provided by the employer. Not even the ADA offers unlimited medical leave.

    Only a fraction of situations for which an employee can collect STD benefits offer ADA protection. With the sole exception of HIV/AIDS, every case, without exception, has to be looked at on a case by case basis.

    Multiple courts have ruled that an employer is not liable for accomodating a condition under the ADA that they have not been notified of. Collecting STD benefits is NOT notification since not all situations for which STD benefits might apply, are ADA eligible.

    With all of the above, more information is needed before it could be concluded that a wrongful termination has taken place.

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