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Category: Retaliation

Must Employer Accommodate Disability By Extending Medical Leave?

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Under the ADA and the Florida Civil Rights Act, employers must accommodate disabilities that do not force undue hardship on the business.

Plaintiff bears the burden of suggesting an accommodation to the employer.  Plaintiff must also show that the accommodation allows her to perform the main functions of the job.  An employee is not entitled to the accommodation of her choice, but only to a reasonable accommodation.

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Extended Medical Leave – Beyond FMLA

An accommodation is not reasonable if it does not allow the employee to perform the job duties in the present or in the near future.  An employer is not required to provide an indefinite leave of absence.

An employer is not required to provide more than 12 weeks unpaid leave under FMLA.  If an employer does allow extended medical leave, it is not protected. It becomes gray when an employee receives a termination notice while on extended leave days before they become eligible for additional FMLA leave. Here, the issue is whether the employee can perform the main job duties in the present or near future. In most cases an employer does not have to accommodate a disability by extending medical leave beyond what is required under the FMLA.

ADA Retaliation

Employers cannot retaliate against an employee for opposing an unlawful employment practice.  To establish a case of ADA retaliation, an employee must show:

  1. engaged in protected activity;
  2. suffered adverse employment action;
  3. causal connection between protected activity and adverse employment action.

Examples of engaging in protected activity include filing a charge of disability discrimination. An employee can also meet this first element by complaining to a supervisor or HR about discrimination.

The most difficult part is proving causation.  Retaliation claims require proof that the employer’s desire to retaliate was the “but-for” cause of the employment action.  This is a much higher standard than mixed-motive.  A plaintiff may satisfy her burden of proving causation by demonstrating a “close temporal proximity between the statutorily protected activity and the adverse employment action. But mere temporal proximity, without more, must be very close in time.

For example, if you filed a charge of discrimination and the next day you’re fired, you have very close temporal proximity and will likely satisfy the element of causation.  However, if you file a charge of discrimination and you’re fire six (6) months later, you’ll need to come forth with additional evidence proving that the motivation for your termination was the filing of a charge of discrimination.

For More Information

For more information about ADA disability law, reasonable accommodations, extending medical leave, and all other issue relating to employment law in Florida please visit The Longo Firm website and view our YouTube videos.

Micah J. Longo
The Longo Firm, P.A.
12555 Orange Drive, Ste. 233
Davie, FL 33330
Tel: (954) 862-3608

When Can You Sue For Wrongful Termination In Florida?

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Wrongful Termination Florida SueEmployees who feel they have been subjected to a wrongful termination in Florida can sue under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (federal law) or under the Florida Civil Rights Act (state law).  Florida is an at-will employment state.  This means you can be terminated for any reason, so long as, it’s not an unlawful reason.  An example of an unlawful reason would be you are fired because of your race, national origin, age, sex, religions, or disability.  These are the protected classes under federal and state anti-discrimination laws.

An employee can sue for wrongful termination in Florida if the reason they are being terminated is because of their membership in a protected class.  For example, if a decision to terminate a woman was motivated by her being a woman (i.e. sex), and not some other legitimate, non-discriminatory reason, then she may sue for wrongful termination in Florida.  However, if she was fired only because of poor performance, then she likely cannot sue for wrongful termination in Florida.

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Filing:  Charge of Discrimination

If an employee believes they have been wrongfully terminated they must file a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) within 300 days of the termination.  I recommend employees who want to sue for wrongful termination co-file that charge of discrimination with the Florida Commission on Human Relations (“FCHR”).  This gives employees the opportunity to bring a wrongful termination case under the Florida Civil Rights Act (“FCRA”) which is a better law to sue under for wrongful termination for employees.

Avoiding Termination

The best way to avoid a wrongful termination is to report the behavior to the Human Resources (“HR”) department.  This should be done in writing and as soon as possible. By reporting the unlawful behavior to HR you are exercising your statutorily protected rights.  Then, if you are terminated shortly after reporting the behavior to HR, you have a prima facia case of “retaliation.”  In other words, it is unlawful to fire someone for reporting discrimination in the workplace.  This isn’t to say that you cannot still be fired for a legitimate reason, even if you made a report of discrimination.  For example, if the employer states the employee was fired for performance and not because he or she made a complaint to HR, then the burden of proof shifts back to the employee to prove that the reason offered by the employer is false.

Unlawful Retaliation

Retaliation cases are much easier to prove.  All that is required is a good faith belief that discrimination is taking place.  There are cases where the plaintiff loses the discrimination part of the case, but wins on retaliation. This is especially true when an employee is fired just after making a written complaint to HR or filing a charge of discrimination.

For example, suppose employee feels his boss is treating him badly and it’s because he is Black.  The employee files a written complaint with HR claiming that he boss is discriminating against him and the reason is because of the color of his skin.  Two (2) weeks later the employee is fired.  Provided the employee can prove that he wasn’t fired for some other legitimate, non-retaliatory reason, he has a winning retaliation case.

For More Information

If you believe that you have been wrongfully terminated because of your race, national origin, age, sex, religion, or disability, you can sue in Florida.  For more information visit our Davie employment law firm website at

The Longo Firm
12555 Orange Drive, Ste. 233
Davie, FL 33330
Tel:  (954) 862-3608
Fax: (954) 944-1916

Micah J. Longo

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