I am an older retired woman who took a part time job at Burger King. I became sick. I have been fired.

I began working about 4 1/2 months ago for 20-27 hours per week. Then, just over 6 weeks later, I began my shift and felt ill. I asked to leave and made it to my car when I collapsed. I was taken by ambulance to the hospital. I was hospitalized 18 days. As of today, about 2 months later, I have not been cleared by any doctor yet. I have been trying to get verification of employment to receive SDI which I have paid into. I just found out that I had been fired weeks ago without any notification. When I asked HR about my pay stubs, I was ignored. When I asked why I was fired, I was told it was because I could not work. When I asked why wasn’t I notified she referred me to the benefits director. Can they do this? I am appalled.

Asked on June 23, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Your employer may absolutely fire you if you can't work or have excessive absences not covered by the use of PTO or FMLA leave (and you would not yet have been eligible for FMLA given the length of time you worked): the law does not require employers to retain employees who miss work or can't work. You write that you were hospitalized for 18 days; and while you do not state so explicitly, the implication is that you did not return to work for 2 months (after having only worked there around 2 1/2 months before your collapse). An employer is not required to indefinitely hold your job for you.


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