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LawTalk, Attorney
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 37855
Experience:  I have 30 years of experience in the practice of law, including employment law and discrimination law.
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my doctor just gave the ok for me to go back to work lite duty

Customer Question

my doctor just gave the ok for me to go back to work lite duty due to my ongoing cancer treatment and recovery. However when I took my release letter in to my Main office I was laid off due to them having "no where for me to go".
Now I am stuck in a 2 year lease for my house (which my company paid for most of my rent, due to our agreement when I was hired) and am now having to pay for COBRA medical insurance for my insurance coverage, and have another lump that I am having biopsied next week. They have never told me or asked me to apply for any diability insurance, which I have applied for since my termination. I was in full contact with them the ENTIRE time I was off being treated, I kept them informed of my progress after each doctor visit. They knew every step of the way what was going on with me.
Now I am so STRESSED about bills, medical and houshold, I am hoping I will not have to move right away (how do you rent a home with no job to pay for it). I'm hoping I do not have another malignant mass, etc... Stress City!
In reality I was not fully recovered to go back to work, my employer would stress to me each time I updated them on "how much they needed me back at work", "they hired another superintendent to cover my job and really needed me back so they could send HIM to another job." Welll, I came back and they let me go.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  LawTalk replied 4 years ago.

Good afternoon Steve,

I'm Doug, and I'm very sorry to hear of the situation. My goal is to provide you with excellent service today. In order to give you a clear and concise answer, I will need some additional information about the circumstances, please.

1. When you went out on leave for the cancer treatment, did you take FMLA leave? Do you know what that is?
2. How long were you out on leave for treatment?


Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I went out May 3, 2013, the day of my surgery. I did not apply for anything, my employer never asked me to. I have never needed anything like this before. I have just been fortunate enough to be pretty healthy/lucky. I was not aware of needing to apply for anything (disability/workers comp etc.) My employer paid me the entire time I was off. My initial time off was to be until July 15, 2013. July 16th I showed up at my jobsite and was told to go home until I submitted my Doctors Medical Release (which I also knew nothing about). So July 25, 2013, I drive up to our main office in Roseville (from Fremont - 120 miles one way)turn in my release to the office mgr and 15 mins later am laid off by the President of California region.


I am now aware of the FMLA and SDI options, I was never schooled or offered help with, or even clued in on these options before my illness.


Now I'm driving blind trying to get some relief from whats in store or me now. Im not ready for full time work, I may have another malignancy, and they have just shut the door on me. They have offered to help me get out of my lease but where do I go?

Expert:  LawTalk replied 4 years ago.

Good afternoon,

Were you eligible for FMLA?

Did you meet the following requirements---all 3 of them:

1. Employer has 50 or more employees, and
2. You worked longer than 1 year for the employer, and
3. You worked at least 1250 hours in the past 12 months for the employer immediately preceding going out on leave?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Not eligible for FMLA have only been employed by them since Nov. 2012
Expert:  LawTalk replied 4 years ago.

Good afternoon Steve,

Thank you for the additional information. So, you would not have had the benefit of using FMLA after all. At least we know that now. Nothing was lost in that respect.

However, the fact that you have been released to work, and that your employer no longer has a position for you, you are eligible for unemployment benefits---which you say that you have already applied for.

In terms of your employer's legal right to let you go---under CA law, unless you had an employment contract guaranteeing you employment for a specific period of time, then you are deemed an employee-at-will, and you can be let go for virtually any reason---so long as it is not discriminatory. When you had to take all that time off for the treatment, your employer was allowed to let you go. Go ahead and allow the advocate to look at your file, but based on the information you have provided, I'm very sorry, but I simply don't see where you have a case of any kind against the employer.

I understand that you may be disappointed by the Answer you received, as it was not particularly favorable to your situation. Had I been able to provide an Answer which might have given you a successful legal outcome, it would have been my pleasure to do so.

You may reply back to me using the Reply to Expert link if you have additional questions.

Please understand that I have no control over the how the law impacts your particular situation. I wish that I could offer you a better outlook legally, but there is nothing that I see that would be of any help to you, legally,.

Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX wish you well in your future.