Can my boss fire me because of my seizures?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can my boss fire me because of my seizures?

I was out of work for 8 days due to being in the hospital for having 12 seizures. I got back to work yesterday after a week off of medical leave from my doctor. My boss said,

Asked on December 4, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Actually, you are not quite right: if your seizures pose a threat of injury to others or liability to your employer, they *can* terminate you for those seizures--they are not required to accept those risks. So if you have a job driving, operating equipment, doing anything on a ladder or platform, etc. where a seizure can result in a substantial risk of damage or injury, they may terminate you. This would not apply to if you have some sedate desk job or the like, where a seizure does not pose risks.
Secondly, you *can* be terminated if you miss work without either having and using earned Paid Time Off (PTO; e.g. sick or vacation days) to cover the absence or being able to use (and in fact using) FMLA unpaid medical lease. To be able to use FMLA leave, your employer must have at least 50 employees within a 75-mile radius and you ust have worked there at least one year (and at least 1,250 hours in the past 12 months). If you miss work without covering the absence with PTO or FMLA leave, you may be terminated, even if there is a medical cause for missing work.
Third, if you have seizures so frequently as to disrupt the workplace or not be able to get your work done, you can be terminated even if there is no risk of injury given your job: employers do not have to retain employees who cannot get their jobs done or who disrupt other employees in a significant way.

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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