Can an employee be fired for legitimate medical leave.

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Can an employee be fired for legitimate medical leave.

My husband has had his current job for about 5 months, however about a month ago an old injury from previous employment came back into play. He has now been ordered off work by his doctor for over a month, and hasn’t been able to walk anyway. His job has just been listed online as open and he’s worried they’re going to fire him. I’m wondering what we can do since he isn’t yet protected under FMLA.

Asked on April 15, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Washington

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Employers are not required to keep employees who cannot or will not go into work, even for legitimate medical reasons, unless those employees either have enough PTO to cover the absence (and use it), or are eligible for an use FMLA leave. Employers retain or keep employees to show up to work and do their jobs; the law does not make employers keep employees who don't do this, even for the best reasons, and the law also does not require employers to give employees different jobs (e.g. light duty ones) than the ones they were hired for or which the employer wants them to do. So in this situation, yes, your husband can be terminated.


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