What to do if I got fired for not complying to 40 hours a week even though I followed proper protocol for sick time 2 weeks in a row?

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What to do if I got fired for not complying to 40 hours a week even though I followed proper protocol for sick time 2 weeks in a row?

I suffer from chronic migraines (since I was 4 years old). I was late a few days over my probation period (90 days) and I was given a warning. During a migraine, my boss did not receive my message regarding my absence, so he filed a no-call-no-show, which I disagreed with. I was told to not be late again. However, within 2 weeks I was sick 2 days in a row with a fever of over 101 (which company wide e-mail said to not come in due to norovirus making its way through the office), then 2 days with a migraine on a new medication. The bosses were aware of the new meds after a meeting. Do I have a leg to stand on?

Asked on May 24, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Massachusetts


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, you most likely do not have a leg to stand on. Employers are not obligated to allow employees to take time off for illness, and may fire employees who miss work or are late due to illness, except as below:

1) The employee had and properly used sick days which he or she had earned or accrued (or some other PTO he/she could use for this purpose).

2) The employer authorized the lateness or absence.

3) The employee took FMLA leave--which you would not have been eligible for if you had recently started.

4) Also, employees have to make "reasonable" accomodations to employees with disabilities--but it's not at all clear your migraines would qualify as a disability, and even if it did, allowing you to miss work is not a required accomodation.

Therefore, it appears that, from what you write, your termination was legal.

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