I've been on State Disability and a Leave from work due to a car accident on June 1, 2015.
After using all my FMLA benefits by Aug. 2015 that I'd accrued, my company could not hold my actual position open for me. But due to a State legality, they allowed me to say under the umbrella of the company, paying monthly to keep my group insurance benefits, and was given an ADA type of Approved Leave. I will be released for work by my physicians on May 3, 2016. In 2 weeks. A letter sent by my company, advised me that my branch office was under no obligation to hire me back at the same level, or same type of position, or at all. Nor are they obligated to hire me at the same pay grade for level 4, if I was offer an opening at level 3. I was instructed to call management a few days before my release date to inquire if "any" positions are available at that branch office. If not, I am allowed a 30 day courtesy leave at which time I can look at the company's job board and apply for any position I qualify for, take an interview, and see if I get it, or not. If nothing is available, they say - it is understood I choose to Voluntarily exit my job. (IE: I think they mean NO unemployment?)
You need to immediately locate and consult with an employment law attorney familiar with the California Fair Employment and Housing Act provisions related to the accommodation of disabled employees. There are things you have stated in your post that suggests possible unlawful conduct of this employer in refusing to return you to work, even though you have been out for 10 months. Depending on the size of the employer, the nature of your job, and several other factors, this employer may well have an affirmative legal obligation to return you to work and perhaps even give you priority over other applicants for the jobs you qualify to perform.
It sounds like this employer may be so focused on its obligations under the FMLA that is it ignoring its obligations under FEHA.
It is therefore important that you locate and consult with an experienced employment law attorney as soon as possible to explore your facts and determine your options. I would suggest you look either on this site in the Find a Lawyer section, or go to www.cela.org, the home page for the California Employment Lawyers Association, an organization whose members are dedicated to the representation of employees against their employers.
Most employment attorneys who practice this area of law offer a free or low-charge consultation and then if the matter has merit and sufficient value, they work on a contingency basis, meaning you can hire an attorney without paying any money until the matter results in a positive outcome for you. Many advance all the costs of the litigation as well. Do not let fear of fees and costs keep you from finding a good attorney.
Good luck to you.
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