Can one be terminated for being in the hospital?

I had been in position for 5 months. Had to enter mental health facility for depression. Employer terminated my position, citing “job abandonment.” Employer was informed the day I went into hospital. I had a friend call to inform them. They say they needed to hear it directly from me. When my friend told me they needed to speak to me, I called immediately.

Asked on June 3, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Arizona


Archibald J Thomas / Law Offices of Archibald J. Thomas, III, P.A. - Employee Rights Lawyers

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Assuming you had not been employed for at least a year and were not therefore entitled to take leave under the FMLA, the employer is allowed to terminte you for being absent.  However, they cannot terminate you because you have a disbility.  There may be a fine disctinction between the two, but one is legal and one is not.  Thus, if you believe you were terminated because you were absent, you would not likely have a claim even though the absence was due to illness.  On the other hand, if you beleive you were terminated because of a disability or becuasse of the employer having regarded you as having a disability, you may have a claim under the Americans With Disabilities Act and/or Florida Civil Rights Act.

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