Can I be fired without any warning while under the care of a physician?

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Can I be fired without any warning while under the care of a physician?

I recently hurt my back. My doctor stated that I had some damage to L4-L5 but wanted an MRI. I was in pain so I took a week vacation that was approved by my employer. Once off vacation I had a scheduled MRI. The same day as my MRI I was called in and fired. I was given multiple reasons, but none of them made sense. I just received a $2000 bonus; I am a salaried employee with no guidelines for work hours. I just walked in and they stated that I was not performing like they had hoped and fired me. I just found it interesting that they fired me the same day and with no warning.

Asked on August 16, 2011 Texas

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Texas is an "at-will" employment law state... which means that an employer (or employee for that matter) can end and employment relationship at anytime.  However, an employer cannot fire you for an impermissible purpose.  For example, an employer can't fire someone just because they are female or of a certain race.  An employer cannot fire people because they have filed certain types of claims or protections.  You don't mention how you hurt your back, but if it was a work-related injury, an employer cannot engage in worker's comp retaliation by firing someone just because they filed a claim for a work related injury.  You also don't mention whether or not you applied for protection under th FMLA.  If you filled out paperwork for protection under the Family Medical Leave Act, then they cannot fire you while your leave is approved through the FMLA.  It is interesting that they fired you on the day you came back and that the reason contradicts your performance evaluations.  Several factors could influence what types of claims, if any, you have against your employer for wrongful termination.  Gather all the information regarding your injury and your prior employment (like old and recent performance reviews) and consider obtaining a more specific evaluation by an employment law attorney.


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