Fired for having a heart attack

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Fired for having a heart attack

Independent contractor, drives a tow truck. I was curious, our friend/roommate is in the hospital right now. He’s been fighting this flu going around, did not go to the hospital, just fought it at home. He missed 2 days work but made up for time lost on Saturday and Sunday. He then went to the ER because coughing and pain had gotten worse. Thedoctors found out he was in the middle of a heart attack while in the ER. They admitted him to work on his breathing issues and the heart attack. Thenext day they fired him. Today the doctors are moving him to UW for more testing etc. Can they fire him over a medical emergency?

Asked on February 21, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Washington

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You can be fired for missing work for *any* reason, including a medical emergency, unless one (or both in combination) of the following applies:
1) You had and used paid time off (PTO) you had earned for the absence;
2) If a medical reason for being out, you are eligible for Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave (worked there at least a year; worked at least 1,250 hours in the past 12 months), your employer is covered by FMLA (has at least 50 employees within a 75-mile radius), and you actually use FMLA leave.
Otherwise, the law does not make employers retain employees who miss work without using PTO or FMLA.


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