My boyfriend had major heart surgery about a year ago, during this time he was in and out of work for doctor visits and they basically demoted him to office work. Prior to that he was doing traveling for the company as a mechanical tech. He finally got a donor and had surgery Dec 2016 and his doctor said after a year he would be able to travel etc. His anniversary came around this past Dec 2017 and let his boss know that if his appointment went well that he would not have to miss work as often maybe once every 6 months which is common for most people. A day or two before Christmas break they laid him off with no severance pay and his insurance would be terminated by end of that month. He was working for the company for over 11 years and was moving up until he got sick. Im just curious to see if there is any type of case here since I fell like they let him go because of his sickness. Any advice would be helpful, thanks!
I'm sorry this happened to him.
The Fair Employment & Housing Act ("FEHA") prohibits discrimination or retaliation against someone with a disability, or someone who requests an accommodation for a disability. If the company has more than 50 people within a 75 mile radius, and if he worked more than 1250 hours in the last 12 months, he may also qualify for protection under California's Family Rights Act ("CFRA"), the state version of the more famous federal Family & Medical Leave Act ("FMLA").
The problem will be one of proof. The burden will be on him to demonstrate that the real reason for the termination was his history of a disability, and not whatever other reason they concoct.
If he believes that his rights have been violated, and he decides that he wants to take legal action, he must make sure to do so within his statute of limitations or his rights could be lost forever.
I hope this information is helpful to you.
Craig T. Byrnes
Disclaimer: Please be aware that I am not offering legal advice, nor forming an attorney-client relationship with you. I am not representing you, nor doing anything to protect your legal rights. If you believe that you have suffered a legal wrong, take action before any statute or limitations expires, or your right to do so may be lost forever. Good luck in your legal matter.
It is unlawful for an employer of 5 or more employees to terminate an employee's employment BECAUSE of his/her disability or serious medical condition. The employer must make an attempt to "reasonably accommodate" his/her disability/serious med. condition - up to the point of undue burden on the employer. More facts need to be known to analyze this situation, including whether his doctor has placed restrictions on his duties, etc. and the reason for the layoff. It is not unlawful to lay off an employee if the lay off is due to job elimination or not enough work. If your boyfriend believes he may have a case, he should call an employment law attorney to discuss.
The other answers you received are good answers considering the information you provided. I can only add that employers do have the right to lay an employee off without any severance if they do not have a policy of giving severance. Whether this was a discriminatory termination will depend primarily on whether the employer had a legitimate business reason for the layoff that is unrelated to your boyfriend's health issues. For instance, if they eliminated a whole group of employees because of a lack of work for that group, the layoff would likely be considered legitimate. Filing a claim with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing is the first step in finding out. Good luck to you both.
This advice is general information about the law and does not provide legal advice for any particular situation. It does not form an attorney/client relationship or provide confidentiality.
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