Does a small company have the right place an employee on COBRA while he is out on temporary disability?

Asked 7 months ago - Princeton, NJ

I was injured in a MVA, my employer of 13 years decides to cancel my health benefits during my short term disability and forces me to pay for COBRA. Is this legal? Our company has only 20 employees. Thank you!

Attorney answers (3)

  1. William Charles Sipio

    Pro

    Contributor Level 11

    2

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . This may be illegal under federal and state law. This could constitute disability discrimination (i.e. being regarded as disabled). ADA jurisdiction requires 15 or more employees. This could also constitute FMLA interference. I'm making an assumption there because most people tend to take FMLA leave and try to utilize some type of disability benefit. I would like to know a lot more information i.e. were you terminated from your position? Were you demoted?

    You should speak with an employment lawyer for a consultation.

    If you found this answer helpful, let me know by clicking the "Mark as Helpful" button at the bottom of this... more
  2. Fred S Shahrooz-Scampato

    Contributor Level 12

    2

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . I believe so. In order to be FMLA eligible, the company has to have 50 employees within a 75 mile radius. A qualifying event for COBRA is one of the following: (1) voluntary or involuntary termination of employment for reasons other than gross misconduct or (2) reduction in the number of hours of employment. If an injured employee is not eligible for FMLA, a reduction in hours due to a job-related injury is considered a “qualifying event” for COBRA, if it results in a loss of health coverage. See: http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/publications/cobraemplo...

    Law Office of Fred Shahrooz-Scampato, PC, (908) 301-9095. We are dedicated to representing employees in New Jersey... more
  3. Andrew M Moskowitz

    Contributor Level 4

    2

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . More information is needed such as how long you were out on disability; whether it would have been an undue hardship for your employer to hold open your position during the period that you were out; and whether your employer permitted you to return to work. If it would have been an undue hardship to hold the position for your, then your employer may terminate your employment (and therefore your health benefits).

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