Will my SDI benefits be terminated if my employer terminates me?
I am hoping you can help me, as the previous attorney I spoke with didn’t give me a very clear answer. My FMLA has run out and my doctor extended my leave of absence, however my employer has not approved it and has scheduled a call to discuss accommodations. We had previously had a call like this and though I was verbally told 3/4 accommodations could be met, none actually were upon returning to work. I fear that I am going to be terminated and will no longer receive my SDI benefits.
2 attorney answers
There are usually nuances to the facts about what the job duties are and what your medical condition consists of that matter, and a question like this online without providing more details is an inadequate substitute for reviewing your situation in more detail with a knowledgeable professional.
A couple of guideposts are that there is a maximum period of one year for obtaining SDI periods on a claim, and the determination about whether you qualify hinges on health care provider opinions about whether you are not able to work. If the employer lets you go, that in and of itself will not disqualify you from SDI.
It might be worthwhile to meet with a lawyer to assess another point raised by your description of the situation-whether the employer has failed to provide you with reasonable accommodation for your disability as is required for most employers under state and federal statutes.
If your doctor has provided a note that indicates your need for a reasonably defined additional period of unpaid leave in order for you to heal and return to work, then your employer has an obligation to engage in a timely good faith interactive process with you to determine if it can accommodate the additional leave without causing undue hardship on the employer. Therefore the requested meeting is just part of the legal process. Unless it would cause an undue hardship, the employer would be violating the law if it were to terminate you for needing the additional leave.
If your employer is not willing to accommodate your need for additional leave, it would be wise for you to 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 cost consultation in the beginning and then, if the matter has merit and value, will usually agree to 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.
This answer should not be construed to create any attorney-client relationship. Such a relationship can be formed only through the mutual execution of an attorney-client agreement. The answer given is based on the extremely limited facts provided and the proper course of action might change significantly with the introduction of other facts. All who read this answer should not rely on the answer to govern their conduct. Please seek the advice of competent counsel after disclosing all facts to that attorney. This answer is intended for California residents only. The answering party is only licensed to practice in the State of California.