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Navigating Employee Termination During Medical Leave: Guidelines for Employers

Terminating an employee who is on medical leave can be a sensitive and complex issue. Employers must follow procedural obligations and ensure they provide accommodation up to the point of undue hardship. In this blog post, we will discuss the necessary steps and considerations employers should take when faced with this challenging situation.

Request Further Medical Information

When an employee provides a medical certificate, employers should request further information to ensure the employee can safely return to work and to identify any limitations or restrictions. This additional information, including a functional assessment, will help the employer make appropriate arrangements and accommodations.

Engage in Dialogue with the Employee

Establishing open communication between the employer, employee, and their medical advisors is crucial in determining the employee’s ability to return to work and any necessary accommodations. This dialogue can help create a collaborative approach to finding a solution that works for both parties.

Evaluate Available Options

Once the employer has obtained the necessary medical information, several options may be considered:

a. Medical leave extension or disability benefits application

b. Return to work plan, including a review period with health professional input

c. Alternate position within the company

d. Flexible work arrangements

e. Independent medical examination, if the information is incomplete, insufficient, or contradictory (with the employee’s consent)

Cautionary Note on Termination

It’s essential for employers to act in good faith when considering terminating an employee on or returning from medical leave. Callous, improper, or insensitive actions can lead to legal repercussions and damages. Employers should exercise caution and consult with legal counsel before making any decisions.

Terminating an employee during medical leave can be a complex process, and employers must navigate the situation with care and sensitivity. By following procedural obligations, engaging in open dialogue, and exploring various options, employers can make informed decisions that respect employee rights and protect their business interests.


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Melissa has 8+ years of combined Commercial, Business and Contract Law experience as In-House Counsel in manufacturing, health, real estate development, and broadcast communication industries. She is instrumental in developing strategies to minimize legal risk and ensure regulatory compliance.

She has 6+ years of Human Resources Management experience and a Chartered Professional in Human Resources (CPHR) designation. Her practice includes Family Law, Civil Litigation, Wills & Estates and Real Estate & Conveyancing.

For fun, she visits ancient sites and ruins and belts out popular Broadway tunes.

northam law corporation

Northam Law is a boutique law firm offering advisory services in Real Estate Law and Conveyancing, Business Law, and Human Resources. Our practice areas also include Wills & Estates and Family Law. Notarization services are also available.

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