Can I be fired for being sick even though I have a doctor’s note?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can I be fired for being sick even though I have a doctor’s note?

I have been sick and will have to be out for a week from my job. I have been diagnosed with 3 different conditions. I have been worried that they are going to fire me for missing the days that I have to work, although I do have a doctor’s note. I do not qualify to be

protected under the FMLA. I do not want to lose my job but if I do, can I file a lawsuit or not?

Asked on October 19, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Texas


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

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Your employer does not need to honor your doctor's note. The fact is that a company is not required to give employees time off from work unless the employee has earned and used PTO (i.e. sick days or vacation time) or the employee is eligible for and used leave under the FMLA. So without either of the above 2 exceptions, if an employee misses work for medical reasons, even with a doctor's note, their employer may fire them. Bottom line, absent an employment contract/union agreement to the contrary or some form of legally ationable discrimination, a company can set the conditions of work much as it sees fit. This includes when and why to terminate a worker.

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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