Can I be terminated for being out under doctor’s orders?

I was in the hospital for seizures that just started. When I was released my neurologist gave me a paper work keeping me out of work for a month and did the same when I returned the doctor after that month. Can I be fired for that.

Asked on April 24, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Maryland


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

The fact is that doctor's orders are not legally binding on an employer. However, as long as you use PTO (sick days and/or vacation time) or you qualify for leave under the FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act), then you can cover your absence from work without jeopardizing your job. If, however, none of that is available to you, then you can be terminated for being out. The fact is that most employemnt is "at will", so unless you have protection in this situation under the terms of an employment contract or union agreement, you have not recourse here if you are discharged. Also, no form of actionable discrimination must be the reason for your treatment but none was indicated by you.

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