Many Americans are familiar with the laws that exist to protect employees from discrimination and harassment in the workplace. Federal laws are in place to protect employees who’ve made such complaints from retaliation from their employer. Essentially, their employer cannot fire them for protecting their own rights.
However, there have been recent reports of employers retaliating against “whistleblowers,” or employees who have made complaints against them. But the employers know better than to fire the whistleblower outright. Instead, they’re forcing employees to file for long term disability, then replacing their jobs.
Can You Be Fired For Filing For Long Term Disability?
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law that provides employees with twelve weeks of unpaid leave per year to deal with medical issues or to take care of a sick family member.
As long as you don’t go over 12 weeks of FMLA leave per year, you can’t be fired. Once you return, you must be given your former position, or something very similar. However, if you do go over your twelve weeks of FMLA leave, you will likely have to file for long term disability. In this case, employers must try to make reasonable accommodations for you.
State Employers Retaliating Through Long Term Disability
Many workplace policies state that employers must include a “reasonable accommodation benefit” and “return to work incentives,” meaning that employers must try to retain the employee who has suffered an injury. Maybe they need extra break time or require a chair to do their work. If an accommodation would be reasonable, employers must try their best retain the employee.
If there is no way that the employee can continue to do their job – even with accommodations – employees are encouraged to file for long term disability. This could, after some time, lead to the company being forced to replace the employee.
Recently, there have been multiple cases in which state employees who were known whistleblowers are forced to file for long term disability. The employers argued that there was no way they could make reasonable accommodations. After a certain amount of time, the state would replace the employee.
State employers are using the LTD system to retaliate against whistleblowers. This is illegal.
FMLA Or Long Term Disability Questions?
Keep in mind, not all workplaces are subject to FMLA. The law only applies to companies with 50 or more employees located within 75 miles of each other. Additionally, employees must meet certain requirements to be covered by the law. Workers must have worked for the employer for at least one year, and at least 1,250 hours during that year.
If you’ve filed a complaint against your employer, and feel that your employer may be retaliating against you, it’s important to look into your legal options. Call us at 314-444-4444.