temrination while on sick leave

I was terminated while having a notice off work from a doctor. It happened in the same day – I got a notice in the morning, while they terminated me in my absence in the afternoon. I’ve got a termination package by fedex the next day.
The question – was my termination legal?

Asked on May 16, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

It depends--
1) Did you use paid time off (e.g. sick or vacation days) for the absence?
2) Was your company covered by FMLA (at least 50 employees in a 75-mile radius), you eligible for it (have worked there at least a year; and worked at least 1,250 hours in the past 12 months), and you applied to use FMLA in advance (or, you were hospitalized on an emergency basis, you applied as soon as you could)?
3) If you company has a call-out policy for being out sick, did you fully comply with it in all regards?
If the answer to all three questions is "no," then yes, they could legally terminate you. A doctor's note does NOT give you the right to miss work, unless you used PTO or FMLA leave, or fully complied with company policy about missing work (including both how/when to call out, and how many days you could miss).
On the other hand, the answer to one or more of the above questions is "yes," this may have been wrongful termination, and you should speak with an employment law attorney to explore your options.

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