Can an employee be legally fired from their job for being out on sick leave with Doctor orders?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can an employee be legally fired from their job for being out on sick leave with Doctor orders?

My son was fired the morning he went back to work, same day he was released from doctor’s care. They told him it’s because he ran out of sick time. He had not been at the job long enough to acquire much sick time. He was still on 90 day probation period. They also said because he had not gotten his CDL yet, but the first time he took the test, he luckily got to take it, because the company scheduled it a day late. He didn’t pass the first test and was on the schedule to go and take it again, which had already been approved by the boss.

Thank You
Linda Wagner

Asked on March 17, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Texas


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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

A doctor's note is not legally binding on an employer. Additionally, a company is free to fire an at-will worker who misses too much work since attendance is a basic requirement of a job. That having been said, such absences are protected if: you had and used available PTO; the FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act); the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act); workers' compensation laws; state paid sick leave laws. Otherwise, absent protection under the terms of an employment or union/collective bargaining agreement, your son's employer was free to set the conditions of employment much as it saw fit.

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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