Can You Be Fired While on FMLA?
Florida and Georgia are “at-will” employment states. That means your employer can hire and fire you at any time for any reason, not just poor performance. However, you may be protected from termination if you’re on unpaid leave of absence under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
Can you be fired while on FMLA? Read on to find out. Then call us to schedule your free case evaluation if you believe your employer violated FMLA and wrongfully terminated you.
Your Rights Under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
The FMLA requires eligible employers to allow you up to 12 weeks of unpaid annual leave for:
- Undergoing treatment for a covered health condition
- Caring for a newborn
- Caring for a sick family member
If you return to work within the 12-week period, your employer must allow you to resume your old job or give you a position with the same pay, duties, benefits, and location.
Do You Qualify for FMLA Leave?
The FMLA doesn’t apply to all employers and employees in Georgia and Florida. You only qualify for the FMLA leave if:
- Your employer has 50 or more employees within 75 miles of your workplace.
- You’ve been with the company for at least a year before taking FMLA leave.
- You’ve worked at least 1,250 hours with your employer in the past 12 months.
- Your reason for taking unpaid leave is covered by the FMLA.
- You’ve informed your employer that you’re taking FMLA leave.
- You don’t take more than the 12 allotted weeks.
Can You Be Fired While on FMLA?
You can’t be fired while on protected FMLA leave. However, if you don’t meet any of the conditions above or are unable to return to work after the 12-week period, your employer can lawfully terminate you.
What If You Don’t Qualify for FMLA Leave?
Depending on your job, protected leave under the FMLA may not be available to you. In such cases, you may still be eligible for medical leave under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
The ADA protects you from termination while on short-term disability leave. The ADA defines “disability” as any mental or physical impairment that significantly limits your life activities. Unlike the FMLA, the ADA applies to employers with 15 or more employees.
Under the ADA, your employer must also make reasonable accommodations for your disability, such as modifying your duties or schedule or ensuring your workplace is wheelchair accessible.
What to Do If Your Employer Terminates You While on FMLA
You may have legal recourse if your employer fired you while you were on medical leave, but you must act fast. If you believe you were wrongfully terminated, consult with a labor law attorney and contact the federal or state Department of Labor as soon as possible.
Contact an Experienced Labor Law Attorney in Florida or Georgia
If your employer fired you while you were on medical leave, The Leach Firm, P.A., can help. Our labor law team can answer questions such as “Can you be fired while on FMLA?” and explain your legal options. Call us today at 844-722-7567 to request your free case evaluation.
Frequently Asked Questions About Wrongful Termination
A wrongful termination can fill you with confusion. Many of the individuals who reach out to us bring similar questions and concerns. Some of the most frequently asked questions we receive about wrongful termination include:
1. What is considered wrongful termination in Florida and Georgia?
Florida and Georgia share many of the same rules regarding termination. Employers may not terminate the employment of any individual due to factors protected by discrimination laws or for exercising their rights as employees, such as by reporting discrimination, making a worker’s compensation claim, or confronting a company about unpaid overtime or incorrect employee categorization. These are just a few of the many reasons that an employer is not permitted to fire someone. If you have been let go due to reasons such as these, you may have been wrongfully terminated.
2. Do employees have any rights in Florida and Georgia?
Employees in Florida and Georgia have a large number of rights in the workplace. These include the right to work while pregnant and not to be discriminated against on the basis of age, sex, religion, sexual orientation, marital status, color, national origin, or disability. Employees who make worker’s compensation claims, take leave due to sickness or family concerns, or even testify against the employer in court cannot be terminated for these actions.
3. Can I sue for being wrongfully terminated?
If you believe that you have been wrongfully terminated, you may pursue legal action against your employer. It is important that you gather as much evidence as possible, such as data indicating that all individuals of a certain nationality were fired while the rest of the employees were only warned. The specifics of each individual situation will vary greatly. Even if you cannot directly prove that an illegal action occurred during your termination, an employment lawyer may successfully persuade your employer to agree to a settlement in order to resolve the conflict.
4. Is it hard to prove wrongful termination?
Proving wrongful termination can be a particular challenge due to the fact that most employment is at-will. Employers are permitted to fire anyone at any time, even if their performance is satisfactory. This means that if a termination is challenged, an employer will likely cite a justifiable reason, such as unwillingness to be part of a team or being too slow to learn, in order to avoid legal trouble. Be sure to collect as much evidence as possible if you believe that you were terminated wrongfully.
5. How long do you have to file a wrongful termination lawsuit in Florida and Georgia?
In Florida, employees typically have 180 days from the date that the discriminatory or wrongful act occurred to file a lawsuit. In Georgia, the wording of the statute of limitations is slightly different; employees have 180 days from the date in which the party learned of the discrimination. In many cases, the date the employee learned about the discrimination and the date it occurred will be the same.
6. How long do wrongful termination cases take?
Just as a wrongful termination lawsuit settlement varies depending upon the details of the case, so too does the length of time that the case will take. Employers who are willing to settle in order to avoid conflict will typically resolve a case quickly. However, those who fight the charge may take the case to court, which can result in a longer time period due to discovery and other phases of the litigation process. Your attorney can provide a clearer understanding of how long you can expect your individual case to take.
Proven Legal Solutions from an Experienced Attorney
If your employer has provided you with a written contract or any other type of statement that guarantees your job security, then our attorney will fight for you and work to build a solid case. When your termination results in a breach of contract, the odds of receiving compensation increase substantially.
We strive to reach the most agreeable resolution possible for your specific case to ensure that you’ll receive the representation you deserve for your case.
Our Lawyer is Here to Represent Your Legal Rights
In cases where the agreement regarding your continuing employment with your employer was not written and was only implied or spoken, the grey legal area can be difficult to navigate. Fortunately, our lawyer knows how to approach such challenging situations. We fully dedicate all our attention to offering you the aggressive legal representation you need against unfair dismissal. By taking into account all of the unique factors involved with your case, we are able to properly determine the best course of action for your legal situation.
Depending on the circumstances surrounding your termination, our attorney may be able to prove that your employer has violated certain state or federal standards. We work by your side to achieve a fair result that works for you and never charge any fees unless we recover the compensation you deserve. Se Habla Español.
Whether you are in need of a wrongful termination attorney or any type of employment discrimination lawyer, we offer sound legal guidance for the representation you deserve. Contact our employment law attorney today at (844) 722-7567 to schedule a free consultation. We provide legal service to clients in Florida and Georgia.