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Can I seek legal action if I am fired during an appeal process to determine further short term disability benefits?

Mobile, AL |

I live in Alabama and have been on short term disability (STD) for two+ months. I have, while waiting on the insurance provider to make a determination on my case (for further coverage), run out of FMLA. I received word yesterday that they will not extend my coverage beyond approx. 3 weeks ago. This leaves me kind of dangling-still unable to work and not even sure if I am still "employed" or have any right to further benefits. I DEFINITELY plan to appeal this decision. In the meantime, is it legal for my employer to terminate me? Do I have ANY legal protection during the appeal, & should I obtain a lawyer to help?

Attorney Answers 1


I am going to provide you with some general info but you really need to speak with an attorney. First Alabama does not recognize a cause of action for wrongful termination. There may be some Federal recourse for you depending on the nature and extent of your disability; however, even that is doubtful. Second, DO NOT "appeal" a denial of short-term disability benefits without talking with a lawyer. Many times the "appeal" is a technical procedure required by the benefit plan and if you do not adhere to the process or provide new information or documentation, you may be precluded from or limited in your right to sue. If you do not have a copy of the disability plan (not just a plan summary) go ahead and request one in case benefits are denied and you end up consulting with a lawyer. Good luck.

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