Can I be fired for this for being out for a month while under a doctor’s care?

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Can I be fired for this for being out for a month while under a doctor’s care?

I have been off of work for 30 days now but have been under a doctor’s care with excuses the entire time.

Asked on June 21, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Ohio


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 13 years ago | Contributor

As a general matter, there is no right to take time off from work; that is, if an employee does not show up for work for any reason, including being under a doctor's care, he or she can be fired. Employers do not need to retain people who miss work.

There are exceptions; you need to see if any apply to you, and may wish to consult with an employment attorney:

1) If had and used sick days or other PTO you had earned to cover your absences, you should not be fired.

2) IF your company was covered by the  Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA; generall requires at least 50 employees within a 75-mile radius) and you also qualify under FMLA (you meet the criteria for hours worked) and also you had given your employer notice in advance you were using FMLA leave, you can't be fired.

3) If the employer had promised to not fire you and to let you have the time off, that promise may be enforceable.

4) If your condition qualified as a disability under the law and this time off was a reasonable accomodation thereto, the employer might not be able to fire you.

5) If you have an employment contract, whatever it says about firing, etc. must be followed.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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