The month of May is Disability Insurance Awareness Month. According to studies, one in four workers will experience a disability that prevents them from working by the time they reach retirement.
If you develop a disability, employment laws protect you from losing your job automatically. However, there are limits to this protection. For example, what if you are suffer a long-term disability that prevents you from doing your old job?
Family Medical Leave Act protects your job
If your employer employs over 50 employees, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) protects your right for medical leaves of absence. This stipulates that you can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to deal with medical issues. If you’ve taken a medical leave, you have a right to expect to get your old job back under FMLA stipulations.
What if my disability lasts longer?
If you develop a disability that keeps you out of work for longer, you still may not be automatically fired. The American Disability Act (ADA) protects workers from discrimination in the workplace. If you have a long-term disability, your employer must make reasonable accommodations for you to return to your job. Receiving any long-term disability insurance benefits, such as SSDI, also does not warrant an employer to automatically terminate you.
However, there are limitations to this rule, an employer is not expected to retain a worker if their disability prohibits them from completing the required tasks of the job. But if an employer wants to fire you due to a disability, they will have to prove that accommodating you presents them with an undue hardship.
Like many areas of the law, employment law is complicated and every case will be different. However, you should know that when it comes to disabilities there are legal provisions that protect you from discrimination.