Can you be terminated from a job while out on medical leave without having FMLA?

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Can you be terminated from a job while out on medical leave without having FMLA?

I was terminated from my job on the 2/20/17 due to the fact, once I was due to return back to work, I had given another doctors excuse that restricted me from 1. lifting of packages greater than 10lbs.2 No repetitive bending, 3. No pushing, pulling, or twisting until 3/13/2017. The director of the human resource office stated to me that I can not return to work with restriction she also stated, that I must be able to perform the job with no restrictions. There’s more but I would like to know if I have a very good case against this job.

Asked on February 22, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Mississippi

Answers:

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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

First of all, a doctor's note is not legally binding on an employer, so it need not honor such a note. Therefore, if you could not fully perform your job duties (i.e. work with no restrictions), your employer was within its rights to terminate you. Additionally, a company is typically free to discharge an at-will worker who misses too much work since a basic job requirement is attendance. That having been said, your absences are protected if any of the following apply: the FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act); the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act); workers' compensation laws; state paid sick leave laws; or if you had PTO that you could use to cover your time out. Bottom line, unless you had protection under the terms of an employment contract or collective bargaining/union agreement, your company was free to set the conditions of employment much as it saw fit.


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