Can I sue my previous employer for firing me for being sick even though I have doctor’s notes?

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Can I sue my previous employer for firing me for being sick even though I have doctor’s notes?

Can I ask for copies of any write-ups I had against me? Write ups were for calling out sick, being late, giving up shifts, and regarding service. All can be explained with doctors notes some on file and one that they refused to take because they said it was irrelevant.

Asked on February 6, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

There is a common misconception or misunderstanding that an employer has to pay attention to a doctor's note. It does not, as a general matter: a doctor has no authority over an employer, and cannot tell the employer when to allow an employee to be late, to not be at work, or to be excused for poor performance. An employer is free to disregard a doctor's notes entirely. The only times when a doctors notes may be relevant are:

1) The employee has an actual disability, is requesting a "reasonable accomodation," and the note is relevant to that request.

2) The employee was injured at work, and has a worker's comp or other legal claim; the doctor's note could be relevant in that case.


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