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Fired and Ill? – You May Be Eligible To Receive Long Term Disability Benefits From Your Former Employer

For most of us a secure job is one of the most important pillars in our life. It is a mainstay to financial security. While our employment laws are written with a general understanding that employers proceed with utmost caution when they fire an employee, it remains true that you can be fired for whatever reason your employer deems fit, unless those reasons are discriminatory. Our team of experienced disability claim lawyers have seen too many cases that go beyond the limits of decency, in particular when job terminations have followed an illness. And in some cases, the subtle nuances of our laws will allow you to be eligible to receive LTD benefits, even after you have been fired.

A good example is the case of Fernandes v. Peel Educational & Tutorial Services.

Remy Fernandes was employed by a Mississauga based private school. His compensation included a salary as well as Short and Long Term Disability Benefits. His employer alleged that he committed acts of “academic fraud” by falsifying student grades and they determined that they had just cause to fire Mr. Fernandes without any notice or compensation in lieu.

The minimum rules around employee terminations are governed in Ontario by the Employment Standards Act, 2000. Ontario courts have frequently ruled that even the most egregious offenses should first be met with written warnings. Also, when a decision is made to fire an employee, the employer must offer the employee a reasonable period of time to find alternative employment (notice period) or pay in lieu of this notice period.

Long Term Disability Benefits - Toronto Disability LawyersMr. Fernandes fell seriously ill shortly after losing his job. In fact, many of his medical conditions were directly attributed to his sudden firing. He engaged a lawyer, who took the position that Mr. Fernandes was entitled to reasonable notice of his dismissal.

Based on this, Mr. Fernandes` lawyer argued that Mr. Fernandes’ illness occurred during the notice period, when his Long Term Disability (LTD) benefits should have remained effective. He had requested the LTD application forms from the school, who initially failed to provide them. Because of this, Mr. Fernandes was unable to make an application for these benefits in a timely manner. He did not qualify to receive them from the insurer.

The case went to trial and after hearing all of the evidence, the judge concluded that Mr. Fernandes had indeed, been wrongfully dismissed; under the circumstances, the worst discipline the school should have applied was a reprimanded or a written warning of dismissal if his conduct was repeated. Secondly, the judge determined that Mr. Fernandes was entitled to reasonable notice of his dismissal. And thirdly, the judge was particularly critical of school’s failure to provide him with the LTD application forms on time.

Long Term Disability Benefits - Toronto Disability LawyersThe penalties to the employer were severe – had the proper protocols been followed to fire Mr. Fernandes, he would have been eligible to claim LTD benefits from the insurance company until age 65. Accordingly, the school was ordered to compensate Mr. Fernandes for exactly that, as set out in the LTD policy.

This case is a classic example of all that can go wrong when employers fail to properly follow the law when it comes to firing employees. For over 30 years, we have seen versions of this play out time and time again.

If you have been recently fired from your job, and are suffering from an illness, contact us. We exclusively represent employees and we understand the Employment Standards Act very well. Our team of expert Toronto Employment Lawyers will review the circumstances of your firing with a fine tooth comb. If your employer has acted in bad faith, we will go to bat for you to ensure you are properly compensated and receive all the benefits you are entitled to.

Long Term Disability Benefits | Toronto Employment & Disability Lawyers, Lecker & Associates

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