Is it legal to fire someone when absences were covered by doctor’s notes?

I work in a plant that has a points system. Regardless if you are sick and have a doctor’s excuse, you are given a point unless the sickness can be covered by FMLA. However, not all illnesses are covered by this. I recently was ill and had to leave work because of it and went to the doctor each time and they faxed a note to my workplace. Due to their points system failing to differentiate between a doctor covered illness and anything else, I am going to be suspended and/or fired.

Asked on February 16, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Wisconsin

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

If you miss work without 1) having and using sufficient paid time off (e.g. sick days) to cover the absences and/or 2) being eligible for (and your employer covered by--e.g. having at least 50 employees within a 75-mile radius) and using FMLA leave, then you may be fired for unauthorized or excessive absences, even if you had doctor's notes. Employers are not required to retain employees who miss work if they don't cover their absences with PTO or FMLA, even if the missed for medical reasons and had a doctor's note. (The doctor has no authority over your employer.)


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