Can You Be Fired on Medical Leave in California?

In California, employees are entitled to certain benefits when they need to take medical leave due to an illness, injury, pregnancy, or childbirth. However, there is a common concern among employees about their job security while on medical leave.

Specifically, they may wonder if they can be fired while on medical leave in California.

Do you know your rights when it comes to medical leave in California? Check out this Youtube video titled “Can I Be Fired While On Disability Leave?” to get the answers you need and make sure your employer is following the law.

If you want to stay informed and protect your job, this video by workers’ compensation lawyers in California is a must-watch. Don’t miss out on crucial information – watch it now!

California Law on Medical Leave and Wrongful Termination

California has clear laws in place to protect employees who have to take a medical leave due to their own illness, injury, pregnancy, or childbirth or who need to take care of a seriously ill family member. Specifically, the Family Rights Act (CFRA) grants eligible employees the right to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave in a 12-month period for these reasons.

The law prohibits employers from terminating, demoting, or retaliating against employees who exercise their CFRA rights. Employers must have a proper reason to terminate the employee, and taking medical leave is not a valid reason for termination.

  • What is the Family Rights Act?
  • The Family Rights Act is a California law that provides eligible employees the right to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave in a 12-month period for their own medical condition or to take care of a family member with a serious health condition. The law applies to companies with 50 or more employees within a 75-mile radius of the employee’s worksite.

  • How does it protect employees who take medical leave?
  • The CFRA prohibits employers from terminating, demoting, or retaliating against employees who exercise their rights to take medical leave. Employers must have a valid reason unrelated to medical leave to terminate an employee, and terminating, demoting, or retaliating against an employee for taking medical leave is not a valid reason for termination.

  • What are the consequences of violating this law?
  • Employers who violate the CFRA are subject to legal consequences, including lawsuits and damages paid to the employee. Employees may also file complaints with California’s labor agency, which may initiate an investigation and take action against the employer.

It is important for employees who have been terminated while on medical leave in California to seek legal advice from a workers’ compensation lawyer who understands the laws surrounding medical leave and wrongful termination.

Reasons for Termination During Medical Leave

Employees who take time off for medical reasons may worry about job security while on leave. While it may seem unfair, employers can sometimes terminate employees during their medical leave.

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Here are some reasons why:

  • Financial reasons or downsizing of the company. If the employer needs to cut costs or downsize due to financial reasons, they may have to let employees go regardless of their medical status.
  • Poor job performance before the medical leave. If the employee was already facing performance-related issues before the medical leave, their continued absence may prompt the employer to terminate their employment.
  • Violating company policies. Violating company policies such as drug or alcohol use during medical leave can lead to termination of employment.

It is important to note that employers are also allowed to terminate employees suffering from any disease that prohibits their continued employment by law or is prejudicial to their health, as well as the health of their co-workers (Art. 284, Labor Code).

Legal Recourses for Wrongful Termination

Employees in California are protected against wrongful termination while they are on medical leave. If you have been terminated while on medical leave, here are your legal recourses:

  • File a Complaint: You can file a complaint with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. You must file the complaint within 180 days of the wrongful termination.
  • File a Lawsuit: You can file a lawsuit against your employer for wrongful termination. You can seek damages for lost wages, benefits, and emotional distress.
  • Reinstatement: If you win the lawsuit or the complaint, you may be entitled to be reinstated to your prior position or a comparable one.

It is important to note that employers are allowed to terminate employees who have any disease that prohibits their continued employment by law or is prejudicial to their health or their co-workers’ health (Art. 284, Labor Code). However, if an employer terminates an employee on medical leave for other reasons, this may be considered wrongful termination.

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Under California’s paid sick leave law, employers cannot deny an employee the right to take sick leave or terminate them for taking sick leave. If you believe that your termination was a violation of the paid sick leave law, you can file a complaint with the California Labor Commissioner’s Office.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the procedure for taking medical leave in California?

Employees in California can take up to 12 weeks of leave in a 12-month period for a serious health condition, bonding with a new child, or qualifying exigencies. This leave renews every 12 months, as long as the employee continues to meet the eligibility requirements.

Can an employer retaliate against an employee for taking medical leave?

No, it is not legal for an employer to retaliate against an employee for taking medical leave. An employee can prove retaliation by demonstrating that they took leave and were subsequently terminated, demoted, or disciplined.

What are some examples of wrongful termination cases in California?

Examples of wrongful termination in California include being fired for refusing to do something illegal, for reporting harassment or discrimination, or for taking leave for medical reasons. The court may order reinstatement or back pay if wrongful termination is found.

Conclusion

Employees in California have the right to take medical leave and cannot be terminated while on leave. However, employers are allowed to terminate employees found suffering from any disease and whose continued employment is prohibited by law or is prejudicial to their health or their co-workers’ health.

It is important to understand California laws relating to employee medical leaves of absence so that you are aware of your rights and can seek legal remedies in case of wrongful termination.

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References

Lora Turner
 

Lora Turner is an Experienced HR professional worked with the large organizations and holding 15 years of experience dealing with employee benefits. She holds expertise in simplifying the leave for the employee benefits. Contact us at: [email protected]