Termination During Leave of Absence

In Alberta, employees are entitled to certain types of leave with full job security. The province’s Employment Standards Act legislates full job protection for employees on maternity leave, parental leave and reservist leave. Generally, an employee cannot be terminated while on leave of absence for any of the above reasons.

Most other types of leave fall under the category “leave of absence”:

  • Medical or sick leave
  • Compassionate care leave
  • Bereavement leave

A certain number of days for illness or personal matters are often provided for in the employment contract. However, some situations may require extended or frequent leave. Under labour laws, employees are afforded certain protection for leaves of absence, including protection from termination.

Justifying a leave of absence

In the case of a leave of absence, employers have the right to protect the welfare of their business. As long as it relates to the employee’s ability to work or return to work, an employer can request documented proof of the reason for and conditions of a leave. This may be as simple as a medical note for a short leave due to illness; however for longer leaves, an employer may request more information, including:

  • Prognosis for a full or partial recovery
  • Fitness to return to work
  • Fitness to perform job-related functions
  • Likely duration of any mental or physical restrictions or limitations following an employee’s return to work

Workplace rights during leave of absence

Under the Alberta Human Rights Act an employer cannot terminate an employee who is on a legitimate leave. Workplace rights protections require employers to accommodate an employee’s absence for medical or family reasons, up to the point of undue hardship. Furthermore, it stipulates that an employer may not refuse continued employment based on discriminatory reasons.

If an employer does not abide by these requirements, or if you were terminated while on leave, you may have a claim for wrongful dismissal.

Contact our employment lawyers in Edmonton and take action now

If you were fired or let go during a leave of absence, contact the Lypkie Henderson Employment Law office to arrange a consultation.

For more information on rights and protections for employees on leave visit http://www.albertahumanrights.ab.ca/employment/employee_info/accommodation/medical_leave.asp