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In California can my employer fire me while I'm on a short term disability?

Woodland Hills, CA |

I received a termination letter from my employer two weeks into my short terms disability. The letter stated violation of the company policies. I know he made up/created the allegations in order to get read of me. The day I began my disability he took my office keys and blocked me from accessing the company files. Can he get away with it? How can I fight it?

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Attorney answers 5


It is unlawful to discriminate against an employee because of his/her medical condition or disability. You should contact an employment law attorney to discuss the facts of your case.


You should immediately discuss your claim with an attorney, who is knowledgeable about employment and disability discrimination. This forum is for general information purposes only.


Of course you can be fired while on disability leave. The law protects you from termination or other negative or adverse employment actions that are based on your use of disability leave. But you can be lawfully terminated for other reasons on other grounds notwithstanding your disability or leave status.

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If you suspect that you were fired on a pretext, you have options. You will need to show that your employer was aware of your disability prior to locking you out. You will also need to rebut the defense as pretextual.

Most attorneys on this board give free half hour consultations. Take advantage of this. You may also want to file with FEHA, that is a simple on-line form. As of January 1, FEHA can demand attorney fees and file actions in civil court.

This answer is not a substitute for legal advice and it does not create an attorney-client relationship.  Seek the advice of a licensed attorney before taking any action that may affect your rights


You may have a claim. If your employer's motivation is your disability, the employer has a problem. On the flip side, you are not necessarily immune from termination if the reasons for your termination predate your disability leave. There are other defenses the employer may have. But if you believe the sole reason for your termination is the recent short term disability, you should consult with an attorney to flesh out all the details and evaluate whether a claim exists.

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