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Can an employee be fired after an unsuccessful suicide attempt?

Lawrenceville, GA |

My husband, a federal employee since the early 70's, attempted suicide last week. He is due to come home tomorrow, October 5th. He is doing very well considering. He is in bankruptcy (another 14 months) and I am so fearful that he will lose his job over this. He has been treated for depression for years and this had nothing to do with his job. He monitors and processes grants for the CDC here in Atlanta. If they try to fire him, he and I will lose everything and have nowhere to go. Is he protected by the ADA or any other law? Thank you.

Attorney Answers 2


Georgia law generally provides little help to employees from termination for good reason, or without good reason. However, federal law provides certain rights, such as the FMLA and ADA, and in addition federal employees have some level of due process protection against arbitrary termination. Mental illness can be more debilitating than physical illness, and even more serious, and a person with mental illness should immediately seek good medical care. Whether a particular illness or condition qualifies under the ADA or the FMLA depends on the unique facts of each situation. I highly recommend that you first seek competent medical care, and then talk to a good attorney who can listen to all the facts and evaluate the situation. Among other things, this could impact future retirement benefits. Our firm routinely advises employees on their rights under state and federal law. You may call to schedule an evaluation.

I am providing general information on the law only, and no attorney-client relationship exists by virtue of this exchange. You can not rely upon this as formal legal advice. If you require specific legal advice, you must hire an attorney and then your communications will be protected by attorney-client privilege, and you will have the benefit of an opinion of counsel. Call 770-753-9995 for a free evaluation.

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If he is covered by short term or long term disability coverage, I would file a claim immediately and try to get him all the professional help you can!

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