What to do if someonemwas recently let go from their job because they had been sick for 3 days but had a doctor’s note?

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What to do if someonemwas recently let go from their job because they had been sick for 3 days but had a doctor’s note?

The day she went back they called her in and fired her. They then told her that they were not going to pay her sick leave for the 3 days because her contract states that she loses any accrued sick leave if she quits or is fired. It seems to me that they owe her for the sick leave because at the time she used it, she was an employee. Legally can they retroactively revoke the sick leave like that?

Asked on May 16, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Oklahoma

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If there was an employment contract, for a definitive answer, the employee would have to consult with an attorney who can review the contract with her--the precise language of the agreement is vital to understanding her rights.

That said, from what is written, it appears that if she had sick leave and properly used it (i.e. complied with whatever policies or rules were in place for using sick leave), that not only could the employer not retroactively take it away from her (since she was apparently employed while using it), but that they should not be able to terminate her in the first place for using a benefit which is part of her compensation--i.e. firing someone for using their sick leave deprives them of the ability to use the leave, which deprives them of part of the compensation they worked for. This may be a case of wrongful termination, if she had and properly used sick leave, but was fired for using it. It may worthwhile to meet with an attorney to explore whether she has a case and what it might be worth.


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