Can I get fired for being sick?

I am 17 years old and have been working for 10 months at my job. I recently got fired because of “not being healthy enough” which I read online that you cannot get fired for being sick. I have been sick a total of 5 days in 10 months – 4 were because of flu and 1 was because of slipping on ice and hurting my back. I believe that if you work in a deli (which I do) you are not supposed to be sick because you can spread it to the customers. I was wondering what I can do about my firing?

Asked on March 22, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Michigan


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If you do not have an employment contract, which you probably do not, you are an employee at will and could be fired at any time, for any reason. Also, it is not necessarily the case that you may not be fired for being sick--for example, employers are not required to provide sick days or even unpaid sick leave, and could fire an employee who is out sick unless the company policy provided sick days or some amount of permitted unapid call-offs for illness, and the employee abided by the policy's restrictions or terms. (There is an exception if the employer and employee are both covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act, or FMLA, and the medical condition was sufficiently serious--however, the illness/conditions you describe would not meet the criteria, and you were  not employed long enough to be covered).

Therefore, from what you write, it appears you probably could be teminated in this case.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.