Extending Your Student Visa

A student visa that lets you study at the university of your choice is a terrific thing for you. But what happens if your studies take longer than you planned? On top of exams and term papers, you may have to worry about your student visa expiring. That’s where an immigration lawyer can be your best friend. Understanding how immigration laws work can be the first step to making sure that you keep your student visa in good standing. My blog is all about immigration issues, especially those faced by foreign students. Check out the articles for more information that you can use to complete your studies in the country you chose to study in.

Fired or Demoted for Taking a Health-Related Leave of Absence? What Are Your Options?

Law Articles

While practical advice dictates that stress should be avoided as much as possible when recuperating from a serious injury or illness, modern life often makes this task impossible—juggling work obligations and family needs while dealing with the medical bills resulting from your hospitalization or other procedure is often enough to sideline anyone's recovery. Returning to work only to find out that you've been reassigned (or worse, terminated) from your position can seem like the bitter icing on an inedible cake. What are your options if you feel you've been unlawfully terminated while on medical leave? Read on to learn more about the laws designed to protect your employment while you're recuperating from a severe illness or injury, as well as some paths you may take if you find yourself in the unemployment line once you've recovered enough to return to work. 

What laws exist to protect your job while you're recuperating from an illness?

One of the main employee protections against job loss during an illness is a fairly recent arrival—the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA). This federal law applies to all employers who have more than 50 full-time employees (FTEs) within a 75-mile radius, and requires these employers to hold open an eligible employee's position for at least 12 weeks while he or she is on medical leave. This leave is unpaid, and employers may require employees to use up any paid sick, vacation, or personal days while on FMLA leave. Although an employee may be reassigned to a different job upon his or her return, this reassignment can't be a demotion (jobs must be "substantially similar" in nature), and the process must not be performed in a retaliatory manner. 

Many states have enacted their own protections similar to the FMLA, with some extending the eligibility criteria under the FMLA to apply to smaller employers or those with primarily part-time employees. While these state laws cannot supersede the FMLA to force it to provide less protection, states are free to extend additional protections to those employed there. 

What are your legal options if you've been wrongfully terminated? 

If you've returned to your workplace after a protected medical leave to find that your job has been assigned to someone else—or worse, if you're actively terminated and escorted from the building—you may be wondering how to proceed. Even if the situation that has transpired leaves you unwilling to ever return to your old job, you may be entitled to lost wages and other damages, including punitive damages, as a result of this illegal behavior.

Your first step should be to contact an employment law attorney. Since the advent of the FMLA, and (more recently) the Affordable Care Act, federal district courts have decided a number of cases dealing with wrongful termination following an employee's serious health diagnosis. A local attorney will be able to help you work through the facts of your case and the legal precedent in your federal district to determine whether a lawsuit is a viable prospect.

While you're contacting an attorney, you'll also want to begin documenting any conversations and searching for emails that could help boost your case. For example, if you were ostensibly fired for a reason not related to your medical leave (such as work performance), but believe that this reason was fabricated, you'll want to gather up any documents that point to a positive work ethic or otherwise suggest that your medical leave led to your termination. While your attorney can subpoena this information on your behalf once a lawsuit has been filed, having this information available at the outset can significantly speed up the progress of your case. Find a lawyer to help you with your case by contacting a firm like The Law Office of Israel S Hernandez, PLLC.


6 April 2016