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November 5, 2008    DOL Home > Find It! By Topic > Termination   

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Upon termination of employment, some workers and their families (who might otherwise lose their health benefits) have the right to choose to continue group health benefits provided by their group health plan for limited periods of time. Employers may also be required to provide notices to their employees under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Also, for information on health insurance coverage under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) upon termination, see 29 CFR 825.209(f).

Workers who are unemployed through no fault of their own (as determined under state law), and meet other eligibility requirements, may be eligible to receive unemployment benefits. Unemployment insurance payments (benefits) are intended to provide temporary financial assistance to unemployed workers who meet the requirements of state law. Under the Federal-State Unemployment Insurance Program, each state administers a separate unemployment insurance program within guidelines established by federal law. See Unemployment Insurance.

Equal employment opportunity (EEO) laws prohibit specific types of employment discrimination. Collectively, these laws prohibit discrimination in most workplaces on the basis of age, race, color, religion, sex, ethnic/national origin, disability, and veteran status. In general, if the reason for termination is not because of discrimination on these bases, or because of the employee's protected status as a whistleblower, or because they were involved in a complaint filed under one of the laws enforced by the Department of Labor (see Whistleblower and Non-Retaliation Protections), then the termination is subject only to any private contract between the employer and employee or a labor contract between the employer and those covered by the labor contract.

Protecting the employment rights of veterans is a responsibility of DOL's Veterans' Employment and Training Service (VETS). VETS protects service members' reemployment rights when they are returning from a period of service through its administration of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA).

Compliance assistance materials regarding termination issues are available from the Office of Compliance Assistance Policy's Web site.

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