Can I get fired or because I’ve been out sick too many times?

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Can I get fired or because I’ve been out sick too many times?

I’m 57 and started menopause. Without medical insurance for so long, I’m now experiencing several health setbacks all at once. Absent due to: flu; bronchitis (consequence of flu); MRSA infection; MRSA came back and I ended up in the hospital; now, have serious bronchial infection. Been out work 6 days. Employer said “We need to talk when you get back. Not being unsympathetic but you have been out sick too many times for your time of employment. You need to get well and be able to perform the job you were hired to do”, I was hired 8 months ago after being unemployed for over 1 year.

Asked on August 26, 2011 Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you can be fired for being out sick too often. Employers are not obligated to provide sick leave, and they are allowed to fire people who do not show up for work for any reason. Companies don't have to employee or pay people who do not come into work regularly.

If you and your company both are covered under the Family and Medical Leave Act, you may use FMLA leave (up to 12 weeks) and they can't fire you for doing that. Or if you do have sick days or other paid time off (PTO), you should not be fired so long as you are using the days which you earned. But other than that, a company is entitled to fire an employee who is out too often, including for illness or doctor's visits or the like.


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