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Is it legal to terminate due to illness?

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  • Is it legal to terminate due to illness?

    Please help! I underwent triple bypass surgery in June 2007. I returned to work in October. I work in a factory that requires heavy pushing and lifting. I've been there over 10 yrs. Since coming back I've been working on a "light" duty basis with my coworkers helping me out with the heavy stuff and in return I help them with what I can. I have chest pain due to the incision area where they did the surgery. these restrictions are documented with doctor's notes and such.

    I feel that there is a possibility of my company firing me because of my illness. The company had mass layoffs several months ago. I'm feeling scared that I might lose my job because of my illness. I still get my work done minus not being able to push or lift heavy objects. Can they use the basis of me not performing my job as a way to fire me? there are still some type of work at the company that I feel that I can do, meaning if they really want to they can give me a position that will accommodate my illness. I tried to look at florida employment law website, but I can't seem to find what I need regarding termination because of illness. anybody know where I can find it specifically?

    If I do get fired, will I be eligible for unemployment and should I get severance pay? I want to know more so that when I deal with management I know what my rights are. Thank you in advance for your help!
    Last edited by Lana08; 05-15-2008, 08:29 PM.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Lana08 View Post
    If I do get fired, will I be eligible for unemployment and should I get severance pay?
    If you are terminated/laid off due to a necessary business reason (ie lack of work), you should receive unemployment insurance benefits. You indicated there were mass layoffs several months ago. It will be up to the state to decide if you get UI but I don't know why you wouldn't for lack of work.

    Florida isn't required by law to offer severance pay (less than a handful of states are & then only in certain circumstances) unless you have an employment contract requiring such a payment.
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    • #3
      No, you employer doesn't have to create a job for you or find a way to keeo you employed over other employees because you have restrictions. If those restrictions prevent you from performing the essential functions of your job and there isn't a reasonable accommodation that would permit you to perform those duties (having others do all the heavy work would not be reasonable) then yes, they can terminate you. The law also does not require that they permit subpar performance as a reasonable accommodation.

      Since your employer has been willing to work with you for so long on this, why would you suddenly assume they are going to fire you?
      I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.