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can I suspended because of a work restriction and will be fired if I don't qualify for LTD

1 Answers. Asked on May 09th, 2017 on Labor and Employment - North Carolina
More details to this question:
I was doing a hard position and I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis and my doctor said some defects on my equipment at work was contributing to my problems. My employer immediately suspended me until the doctor gives me a 100% medical release. Doctor cannot. They are paying me short term disability and say that when I no longer qualify for the disability and cannot get the release I will be subject to the attendance policy and therefore terminated. I am pretty sure they CAN fire me, but since it's their policy that prevents me from working, I don't think they should be able to stop my disability.
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Answered on May 10th, 2017 at 5:18 AM

There are several different issues raised in this post. First, and one I cannot help with, is that if you have a physical injury or condition caused by, or exercerbated by the work you were doing, you may have a workers compensation claim.  I recommend you speak to a local workers compensation attorney to discuss that further.  Second, it is hard for us to speculate on the short term and long term disability issue.  Employment law does not require the employer to offer such benefits and does not control the eligibility or coverage issues that you have.  Short term and long term disability (other than Social Security Disability) is an insurance contract.  The insurer is required to provide benefits, but only for as long as the contract requires and only in the circumstances covered by the contract.

 

The third and final issue may well be the most important. If your employer has at least 15 employees, it is covered by the Americans With Disabilities Act which requires an employer to provide a "reasonable accomodation" to an employee with a disbility.  The accomodation must be designed to allow the employee to complete the essential functions of the job.  The EEOC has taken the position that a rule that requres an employee to be 100% to return to work is a violation of the ADA. At least initially, it sounds like you have a claim against your employer for a violation of the ADA. Speak with an experienced emploment attorney as soon as possible about this situation.

I am an experienced attorney focusing on employment law in North Carolina and Tennessee. This post/response is not meant to constitute legal advice.

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Labor and Employment
Labor and employment attorneys can help both employers and workers prevent, address and resolve a variety of issues related to the employer-employee relationship. Small business owners and managers should consult with employment lawyers when crafting employment policies (including those related to hiring, affirmative action, compensation, medical leave and sexual harassment); negotiating employment contracts, non-compete agreements and severance agreements; and resolving employment-related personnel disputes. Workers should talk to a labor and employment law firm before signing any job-related contracts and for help addressing issues related to discrimination, harassment, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accommodations and Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requests.
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