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Can your employer terminate you for months-long medical leave?

On Behalf of | Jul 27, 2023 | Family And Medical Leave Act (fmla), Wrongful Termination

Life is full of surprises, and no matter how much we prepare, we can never really know what will happen next. Unfortunately, those unexpected events include us or our family members getting sick. When this happens, we have no choice but to temporarily drop everything, including our work, to recover or care for our loved ones.

Fortunately, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) protects workers, reassuring eligible employees that they can temporarily take a leave from work to manage family and medical matters.

However, despite the law, some employers unlawfully terminate employees for taking extended leaves. As an employee, you should know your rights and when to fight for them.

Your employee rights under FMLA

The FMLA allows employees to take up to 12 weeks of leave to care for themselves or their seriously ill family members. To be eligible for this benefit, the following conditions must be present:

  • The employee’s company has at least 50 employees
  • The employee has been employed with the company for at least a year
  • The employee has worked at least 1,250 hours during the last 12 months
  • There is a family emergency or serious illness within the employee’s family, including themselves

If you were rightfully on leave under the FMLA and your employer suddenly terminates your contract during the leave or after coming back to work, you can file a case for wrongful termination.

Take note of the ‘at-will’ employment doctrine

Indiana has clarified that employers can terminate employees anytime for any reason if there is no collective bargaining agreement or contract stating otherwise. This is called the ‘at-will’ employment doctrine. However, this does not mean that wrongfully terminated employees have no remedies. It is just that the employee has the burden to prove that the reason for termination is improper.

Fighting against a company with resources can be intimidating for wronged employees. Nevertheless, relief is possible with the proper understanding of the law and proper guidance from an employment law professional.


More Than 20 Years Experience With Employee Law

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