Can a job terminate you for missing days due to doctors’ appointments for pregnancy if doctors’ notes are provided?

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Can a job terminate you for missing days due to doctors’ appointments for pregnancy if doctors’ notes are provided?

I was employed and in a training class and was terminated due to missing days for doctors’ appointments for my pregnancy. Is this lawful? What can a pregnant woman do about such appointments when employed?

Asked on August 17, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, North Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

A doctor's note does not control your employer: contrary to common belief, a doctor has no authority over an employer. Employers do not have to let employees go to doctor's appointments during work hours unless 1) the employee has, and uses, paid time off (PTO) to cover the absence, like sick time; or 2) the employer is covered by FMLA (at least 50 employees within a 75-mile radius), the employee is eligible for FMLA (worked there at least a year; worked at least 1,250 hours in the last 12 months), and the employee uses FMLA for the purpose.
Otherwise, if PTO or FMLA is not used, the employer can terminate for missing work. The solution, if PTO or FMLA not available, is to schedule appointments for before work, after work, or weekends.


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