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Can an employer "freeze" sick leave, long term disability and FMLA benefits due to long term health issues?

Houston, TX |

An employee was recently informed that starting 01/01/2014 thru 01/01/2015 that his health benefits will be "frozen". This employee has had approved FMLA leave due to serious health isssues that have extended beyond the allowed 12 weeks. His health issues has been ongoing for a few years, when he returned to work with 2 doctor's statements one said that if he continued shift work he would never get better and needed to be put on a straight day job and the other stated there were no limitations, the company informed him if he missed any more work they would freeze his benefits until 01/01/2015.

Attorney Answers 3


  1. An employee cannot be treated differently or have reduced benefits due to the employee being on FMLA leave or because the employee has a disability. All employees must be treated equally. However, an employer does not have to put an employee back to work if they took more than 12 weeks of FMLA leave or if they cannot do the essential functions of their job. You need to consult with an attorney to provide more details to get full legal advice.

    This is not intended to be legal advice, but is only for general information. Cantact an attorney in your area for legal advice.


  2. There are a lot of potential FMLA and ADA legal issues in your situation. There are too few details here to adequately address your question. You need to talk to a local employment lawyer about this situation.


  3. Is this "freeze" company policy or just for this employee. The company must treat all similarly situated employees reasonably equally. As was stated above, you need to contact an attorney to discuss these serious health issues.

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