Imagine facing a serious illness that demands your full attention. Amid the turbulent waves of medical appointments, treatments, and personal struggles, you are also stressing about whether you may lose your job.
If you or someone you care about is grappling with a serious illness and is unsure about their rights as a worker in Virginia, The Spiggle Law Firm and our employment rights attorneys can help. Our team is familiar with Virginia state and US federal employment laws and can answer any questions you may have.
Could Getting Sick Cause You to Lose Your Job in Virginia?
When a serious illness strikes, the last thing anyone should have to worry about is losing their job. Unfortunately, job security often comes into question for workers who are battling serious illnesses. Here’s what you should know:
Virginia’s At-Will Employment Status
Virginia, like most states, operates under the doctrine of at-will employment. This means in the absence of a written employment contract, either the employer or the employee can terminate the employment relationship at any time, with or without cause. However, this does not mean employers can disregard other laws protecting employees, including those related to serious illnesses.
Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
One of the primary federal laws designed to protect employees dealing with serious illnesses is the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The FMLA provides eligible employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year for specific family and medical reasons, including dealing with a serious health condition. To be eligible for FMLA protection, you must work for an employer with 50 or more employees within a 75-mile radius and have worked for the employer for at least 12 months.
During FMLA leave, your employer is generally required to maintain your health benefits and ensure your job or an equivalent position upon your return. If your employer terminates you while you are on FMLA leave or immediately upon your return, it may be a violation of federal law. If you believe you were wrongfully terminated for taking FMLA leave, it is crucial to consult with an experienced employment rights lawyer in Virginia.
Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA)
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is another federal law that plays a significant role in protecting employees with serious illnesses. The ADA prohibits discrimination based on disability and requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities, including those with serious health conditions.
If you have a serious illness that substantially limits a major life activity, you may be covered by the ADA. In such cases, your employer must engage in an interactive process to determine if reasonable accommodations, such as modified work hours or job tasks, are possible. If your employer terminates you instead of making reasonable accommodations, it may be considered unlawful discrimination.
Seeking Legal Assistance
If you believe you have been wrongfully terminated due to your serious illness or taking medical leave, it is essential to consult with an employment rights lawyer in Virginia who can assess your situation and provide guidance tailored to your unique circumstances. They can help you understand your legal rights, potential claims, and the steps to take in pursuing justice.
Did You Lose Your Job in Virginia After Becoming Ill? Call Us for a Free Review of Your Case
While Virginia is an at-will employment state, there are federal and state laws in place to protect employees dealing with serious illnesses. It is essential to know your rights and seek legal counsel from The Spiggle Law Firm if you believe you have been wrongfully terminated while coping with a serious illness. Our employment rights lawyers in Virginia can provide the guidance and advocacy you need to confirm your rights are upheld during a challenging time.