Can my employer penalize me for going to the ER after a car accident on the way to work?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can my employer penalize me for going to the ER after a car accident on the way to work?

I was in an accident on the way to work. It was nothing serious but my shoulder popped out and is now sore at work. Can they penalize me if I leave to go to the ER?

Asked on October 1, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Pennsylvania


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

If you have PTO (i.e. sick or vacation time), then you can use that to cover your absence. Otherwise, without your employer's permission, if you leave it will constitute an unexcused absence. This is something for which you can be penalized, up to and including termination. While seemingly unfair it is the law. The fact is that without an employment contract or union agreement to the contrary, a company can set the conditions of the workplace much as it sees fit (absent some form of legally actionable discrimination).

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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