Can I get written up for calling off due to my asthma?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can I get written up for calling off due to my asthma?

While I understand we have a policy that states that we have to call off at least four hours before the start of our shift, can they write me up for calling off via

text message two hours and 50 minutes prior to the start of my shift because of a severe asthma attack where I couldn’t breathe well enough to talk to call on

a phone and where I did go see a doctor the same

day. At 4 hours prior to the start of my shift I was asleep and not having any problems with my asthma. I woke up in an attack and immediately grabbed my phone and texted work while doing an aerosol treatment. I told them that I couldnt call in to call off because of not being able to talk because of the severity of the asthma attack and that I was going to the doctor for further treatment which I did. Then today they gave me a write up to sign for not

calling in at least 4 hours before and for not phoning in versus texting. I carry a medical bag with me to work everyday that has my full arsenal of medicine for my asthma so it isn’t like they don’t know that I have it. And have also been transported by squad from work previously because of an attack.

Asked on August 15, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Ohio


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Yes, they can write you up for this: you did violate a policy of which you are aware and they can record that fact. But also, a write up is just an internal notation in their files: it does not do anything, deprive you of anything, is not legally binding, etc. (You can be required to sign that you received it; you cannot be required to sign that you *agree* with it, by the way). IF you end up suffering some concrete adverse consequence--termination, demotion, suspension--due to missing work or inadequate call off notice because of asthma, you *may* at that time have a claim for illegal disablity-based discrimination: employers are required to make "reasonable accommodations" to known employee disabilities, and failure to do is considered illegal discrimiantion. Whether, at that time, your claim is successful will depend on the exact facts and circumstances--e.g. was the requested accommodation or change in policy reasonable given the precise facts--but until and unless there is some actual action taken against you or negative effect on your employment, there is nothing you can or need to do; as stated, a "write up" is essentially just their notes, and they have the right to make or keep any notes they want.

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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