The typical California worker spends forty hours or more at work each week. Many of these individuals come to work even when they are not feeling well and should probably stay home; however, there is a job to be done, and the conscientious employee wants to make sure it is done. Yet, there are instances when time off to take care of a medical condition is necessary. Laws are in place and medical leave is available in most instances to protect the individual in such cases. If a company does not follow these laws and an employee is fired for taking his or her rightful medical leave, an individual may have a case for wrongful termination.
Recently, a jury in another state awarded approximately $500,000 to an individual for wrongful termination. Although this 41-year-old woman had a psychiatric condition, her performance warranted her promotion to a coordinator’s position in 2012. After two years in this new position, she began to have problems associated with her condition, and a leave of absence became necessary.
When this employee returned to work, she was re-assigned to another position. She then began to receive discipline notices and was subsequently fired. Although the company claimed that the termination was based upon her performance and workplace behavior, the jury found that she was terminated because of the leave of absence for her condition.
No one knows what the future holds; however, California residents can rest assured knowing that if they do become ill or injured, it is likely that their job is protected for a period of time. Although most companies are concerned with their employee’s well-being, there are those who may be more concerned with the company’s bottom line and attempt to not provide the employee with his or her legally available benefits. If this happens, the employee will want to discuss legally available options and possible wrongful termination with an experienced professional in this field.
Source: Becker’s Hospital Review, “Jury Awards Former Covenant Medical Center Employee $500k for Wrongful Termination“, Ayla Ellison, June 21, 2016