Can they legally fire me for passing out our work?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can they legally fire me for passing out our work?

About 2 weeks ago, I passed out at work and was sent to the emergency room they ruled I was very dehydrated. The next day I went to HR they said that I had to do a drug test and get cleared by my primary doctor, which I did. So my medical file shows that I have seizures. I am working to get that off because I’ve never actually had one. Anyway, this past Friday, they said that I am a liability to the company and they are going to have to let me go. Can they do that? It was not a seizure I had, I just passed out.

Asked on November 11, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

If you have a medical condition or disability (proven, defined, verified one), they cannot terminate for having it and have to make "reasonable accommodations" to the condition, which likely would include not terminating you from your job for the occasional seizure, so long as the nature of your job is such that it does not pose safety or liabilty risks for them (e.g. you are not a driver or equipment/machinery operator).
But if you don't have a medical condition or disability, you are not entitled to the protection of the anti-discrimination laws. That means that unless you have a written employment contract whose terms protect you from termination, you are an "employees at will" and may be be terminated at any time, for any reason, including passing out at work. So ironically, you have *less* employment protection without a medical condition than you would with one, since employees at will have no rights to or protection for their jobs.

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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