Can my employer terminate me for taking time off to recover after having surgery for a non work related personal injury?

Was playing hockey and have to get surgery on my
shoulder. Not sure if I can be fired for the amount of time
needed to rest. Business is a family owned.

Asked on August 22, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Illinois


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You may be fired for missing work, even for recovery after surgery, unless:
1) you have, and use, paid time off ("PTO") (like sick leave) which you earned; and/or 
2) your employer is covered by (at least 50 employees within a 75-mile radius), you are eligible for (worked here at least 1 year; worked at least 1,250 hours in the last year), and you properly use Family and Medical Leave Act ("FMLA") for the absence. 
The law does not require employers to retain employees who miss work without using PTO or FMLA; the laws doesn't allow you to miss work, even for otherwise good reasons, without using some benefit you earned (PTO) or have under the law (FMLA) for the absence. So yes, you could be terminated.

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