Can a job terminate you for missing days due to doctors’ appointments for pregnancy if doctors’ notes are provided?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can a job terminate you for missing days due to doctors’ appointments for pregnancy if doctors’ notes are provided?

I was employed and in a training class and was terminated due to missing days for doctors’ appointments for my pregnancy. Is this lawful? What can a pregnant woman do about such appointments when employed?

Asked on August 17, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, North Carolina


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

A doctor's note does not control your employer: contrary to common belief, a doctor has no authority over an employer. Employers do not have to let employees go to doctor's appointments during work hours unless 1) the employee has, and uses, paid time off (PTO) to cover the absence, like sick time; or 2) the employer is covered by FMLA (at least 50 employees within a 75-mile radius), the employee is eligible for FMLA (worked there at least a year; worked at least 1,250 hours in the last 12 months), and the employee uses FMLA for the purpose.
Otherwise, if PTO or FMLA is not used, the employer can terminate for missing work. The solution, if PTO or FMLA not available, is to schedule appointments for before work, after work, or weekends.

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.

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