Can you lose your job if your employer asks you for a medical note and you provide one?

My son called in sick for 2 days to his hourly job. They told him he needed a medical note to return to work or he would lose his job. His doctor provided him with a note and he took it in, my son was then told that they want to make an example out of this situation for the other employees so he is no longer employed there even though he complied with the request of a valid medical note.

Asked on May 8, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Washington


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

The only real issue is, did your son do one of the following:
1) Have paid time off (e.g. sick days) and use them for his absence?
2) Follow to the letter a "call out" policy about calling out sick, IF the employer has such a policy (there is no legal requirement for an employer to have such a policy)?
3) Get employer approval *in advance* for the absence?
If the answer to any one of the above is "yes", your son should not have  been fired, and he may have a wrongful termination claim against his employer. But if the answer to all is "no," then he may be fired for an unauthorized absence, even if the reason was medical and even though he provided a doctor's note. An employer may legally choose to make an "example" of an employee who has unauthorized absences.

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.