Working in Rhode Island means you work for an at-will employer. Though there are federal laws in place to offer protection against unlawful terminations, many people find themselves in the unemployment line after developing medical issues that interfere with their ability to show up and perform their jobs.
If you feel you were wrongfully terminated because of attendance issues related to your health, you might have a wrongful termination claim. Dealing with unemployment and health issues can bring about a great deal of stress and lead to confusion. Here are a few questions to consider if you feel your employer wrongfully fired you due to your health:
Is your condition a disability?
Employers must make reasonable accommodations for disabled workers. Even if your condition does not prevent you from working, it is possible that it may qualify as a disability that your employer cannot use to discriminate against you. You might not feel comfortable sharing information about your medical condition with your employer because you fear she or he will mistreat or fire you, but it is necessary.
Do you qualify for FMLA?
Federal law provides the FMLA for employees who suffer from serious medical conditions that require them to miss work periodically. It also offers protection for workers who must care for family members with serious medical problems. The Federal Medical Leave Act prevents employers from firing workers who are on medical leave. FMLA is only applicable to certain workers who have reached at least one year of employment at their jobs.
Do you have proof?
One of the hardest things to prove with wrongful terminations is whether an employer broke the law. At-will employment guidelines make it challenging for employees to meet the burden of proof, but it is not impossible. Keep copies of all correspondence, performance and the information that you can use to show your employer unfairly targeted you.
Keep in mind that there are all sorts of stigmas attached to medical and health problems. No matter what employers believe, they cannot use such stigmas to infringe on your employment rights, especially if you are dealing with serious health concerns.