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If an employee is on medical leave, does a company have to contact the employee by phone before terminating them?

Simi Valley, CA |

I was an employee for over 12 years, went on medical leave and while I was leave, they fired me by just mailing a letter, I didn't receive. The problem is, My benefits were cut off and I didn't find out until 6 months after my company terminated me so now I"m "On the hook" for a bunch of medial expenses I can't pay for.

Attorney Answers 2

  1. The company does not have an obligation to contact you via telephone to advise you that you are being terminated. However, a more important question is whether they were within their legal right to terminate you while on medical leave. Certain types of medical leave such as FMLA and CFRA provide job protections. Moreover, if you have a restriction or disability, your employer has an obligation to engage in a good faith interactive process to determine what accommodations, if any, can be made so you can perform the essential functions of your job. You should consider consulting with an employment attorney to more fully discuss your employment history. Most of us provide free consultations. Good luck.

  2. Mr. Weinman is correct. There are certain laws which give an employee rights pertaining to disability accommodation and FMLA job protection (which is for up to 12 weeks). But the fact that you say you did not know you were discharged until 6 months after the fact raises a big red flag as to the lack of communication on both sides, as well as how long you have been out of work for. Even in cases where employers may be obligated to extend a medical leave to accommodate a person's disability, the time periods tend to be fairly short with a return date scheduled or anticipated. If you have been out of touch with your employer for six months or more, there may be blame to go all around for the lack of communication. You cannot expect an employer to pay for your medical insurance indefinitely. These can be complicated issues and I am sure there facts that are missing. Consult with an employment law attorney in your area for more information legal advice.

    They say you get what you pay for, and this response is free, so take it for what it is worth. This is my opinion based on very limited information. My opinion should not be taken as legal advice. For true advice, we would require a confidential consultation where I would ask you questions and get your complete story. This is a public forum, so remember, nothing here is confidential. Nor am I your attorney. I do not know who you are and you have not hired me to provide any legal service. To do so would require us to meet and sign written retainer agreement. My responses are intended for general information only.

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