Terminations can profoundly impact various aspects of an individual’s life, including their health.
In certain situations, terminations (or the circumstances leading up to them) leave employees unable to start new work. In these situations, terminated employees should consider turning to their disability benefits providers to quickly avail themselves of Short Term and/or Long-Term Disability benefits (“STD” and “LTD” respectively or, together, “Disability Benefits”) before their coverage ends.
Two Separate Sets of Rights
How do termination entitlements differ from disability benefits entitlements? In short, termination entitlements are a completely separate set of rights from Disability Benefits. Termination entitlements represent the statutory amounts (i.e. rights under the law) or contractual entitlements (i.e. based on your contract) owed to you, and can also include receiving reasonable notice at common law. Provided the termination is on a without cause basis, termination entitlements are owed to employees by the employer.
Disability Benefits are entirely different entitlements. Those benefits are owed to employees who participated in those plans, which can include STD and/or LTD while they were employed. This benefits coverage must be continued, at the very least, throughout a terminated employee’s statutory notice period, and in some circumstances, throughout the reasonable notice period. Therefore, if an employee loses their employment but is subsequently unable to work for medical reasons, they could still have access to their Disability Benefits and should trigger these entitlements as soon as possible.
Two Separate Deadlines to Sue
Since Disability Benefits and termination entitlements are two different sets of rights, two different limitation periods (i.e. deadlines to sue) exist by which to bring a legal claim.
How to Protect Yourself
First and foremost, you should always speak with your doctor following a termination. Your doctor will be able to gauge whether you are well enough to work. Second, due to the complexity of managing both sets of rights, obtaining legal advice as promptly as possible is crucial. One of our Employment Law Group lawyers can help you ensure that you are:
- Receiving appropriate compensation stemming from your termination and/or disability and;
- Monitoring your limitation periods, so you are not missing the deadline by which to start a claim, if issues arise within the scope of paragraph (1) above.