Can I Be Fired After I Have Surgery?
In Texas, employees who have not signed employment contracts with the companies where they work may not realize that their bosses can fire them at will. This means that an employer does not have to have a valid reason; a worker's employment can be terminated at any time.
Nevertheless, if an employer does not comply with specific laws concerning employee rights -- such as the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) -- legal action may be appropriate.
Federal leave laws such as FMLA make it illegal for employers to fire you while on leave and require employers to allow you to return to your previous role or a similar one after returning from your surgery, provided you are still able to perform the job functions. However, not all employers qualify for FMLA policies and may be exempt from these rules.
Your Rights Under FMLA:
- Your employer cannot fire you or punish you for taking leave
- Your employer cannot fire you while you are on approved leave
- Your employer cannot fire you for requesting accommodations, as you have a right to do so under ADA laws
- Your employer must continue providing health insurance coverage during leave
- Your employer cannot get rid of your position while you are on leave
- You have a right to return to the same position or a similar job with equivalent pay and benefits upon return
What Can I Do If My Boss Fired Me After I Had Surgery?
Unfortunately, some employers retaliate when employees exercise their rights to FMLA leave. If your employer violated FMLA laws and fired you after surgery despite being able to perform the job properly, you may be able to take legal action to seek damages and remedies. You should talk to an employment attorney about your rights and whether you are eligible to pursue a claim.
Man Sues Employer for FMLA Violation
An ex-employee of a trailer manufacturer filed a lawsuit against his former employers, alleging an FMLA violation. According to the complaint, the plaintiff worked in the parts department of the company from May 2000 through July 2014.
The plaintiff contended that he developed a hernia-related medical problem and informed his employer in July 2014 that he needed surgery and would be away from work for three weeks. The plaintiff alleges his employer failed to classify his absence properly in accordance with the FMLA. When he contacted his supervisor in mid-August to confirm his imminent return, she apparently informed him that his position had been terminated.
This man seeks recovery of damages, including lost wages and benefits plus interest, punitive damages and legal fees, and court costs.
Source: pennrecord.com, "Man claims he was wrongful terminated after surgery", Annie Hunt, April 5, 2016
Contact Us to Discuss Potential FMLA Violations
Any Texas worker whose employee rights are violated may retain the services of an experienced employment law attorney to help him or her pursues justice.
If your employer has fired or punished you for taking leave, contact us immediately to discuss your case.