What are my rights if i was fired while on leave?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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What are my rights if i was fired while on leave?

I was working for a company and was put on stress leave due to being scared to go to work because of incident that happened while I was on the clock. I was put on stress leave and was fired while on leave even though I had doctor’s note for non-attendance.

Asked on January 11, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

A doctor's note does not allow you to miss work--that is a common misconception. You can only miss work for a medical reason if one or both of the following is true:
1) You have accrued enough paid time off (PTO; like sick leave) to cover the absence; and/or
2) Your company is covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which means it has at least 50 employees within a 75-mile radius; you are eligible for FMLA (worked there at least a year; worked 1,250 or more hours in the past 12 months); and you use unpaid FMLA leave.
If the company fires you for being on leave despite having and using PTO, you could sue for "breach of contract"--for effectively denying you compensation (paid leave) you earned. If fired despite using FMLA leave, contact the department of labor to file a complaint. But if you missed work without using PTO or FMLA, you may be legally terminated for absence.

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