Can my employer fire me because of medical reasons?

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Can my employer fire me because of medical reasons?

I missed a good bit of work due to a pinched Socratic nerve being pinched. I still have sick time and all was backed by doctor notes.

Asked on November 30, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Georgia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

If you used sick leave for all the absences, then they could not terminate you for missing work--to terminate you for using sick days which you earned or accrued is to deny you the use of those days, and so to deny you compensation which you earned, which is illegal.
It would also be illegal to terminate you if the employer were covered by FMLA (at least 50 employees within a 75-mile radius), you were eligible for FMLA (worked there at least a year; worked at least 1,250 hours in the last 12 months), and you properly used FMLA leave for the absences.
If either of the above occured, contact the department of labor to file a complaint; and/or you could sue for wrongful termination.
However, even if you still have sick leave, you did not *use* sick leae (or unpaid FMLA leave) for your absences, you could be legally terminated: an employee may be terminated for unauthorized absences (ones without  using PTO or FMLA), even if he or she had a medical condition.
You could also lawfully be terminated if you are having performance issues at work (or were late to work; were insubordinate; violated supervisor instructions or company policy; etc.)--having a medical condition does not mean you cannot be terminated for unrelated reasons.


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