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What options does an RN have who was terminated from employment while on medical leave and now cannot seem to be rehired at that facility?


Dear Nancy,

I was on medical leave for surgery and my doctor extended my leave because of complications. My employer of 17 years terminated me while I was on medical leave, with the understanding that when my doctor released me to go back to work, I would be rehired. I have been applying for a job with my previous employer for three years. I’ve tried to contact them by phone with no response. What, if any, are my options?


Dear Nancy replies:

Dear Samantha,

Your question raises many issues not addressed in your description. For example, it is unclear why your employer terminated you while on medical leave. What were the reasons given? What were the employer’s requirements for you while on medical leave (e.g., length of time allowed, required documentation from your physician)? When did your physician think he or she could release you to go back to work?

It sounds as though you have been trying to gain employment from an employer you worked for before the employer who terminated you while on medical leave. Although you may have a reason for trying to regain this employment for three years, it seems odd you would not seek work elsewhere, especially when your calls were not returned.

It might be best for you to consult with a nurse attorney or other attorney in your state who works with employees in the area of employment law. You will need to be very specific about the facts surrounding your termination while on medical leave and be able to document what the employer’s requirements were when an employee takes a medical leave. The attorney also might be able to help explore why your former employer is not returning your calls or responding to your application
for re-employment.

If your attorney advises you there are no legal options to your situation, you will need to abandon the effort to seek legal action for the termination while on medical leave and the effort to gain re-employment with your former employer. Then, you can start anew in your search for a nursing position in which you are interested.



About Author

Nancy J. Brent, RN, MS, JD, is an attorney in private practice in Wilmette, Ill. This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as legal or any other advice. The reader is encouraged to seek the advice of an attorney or other professional when an opinion is needed.

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