Can my company terminate me because I have to be out for a medical reason?

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Can my company terminate me because I have to be out for a medical reason?

I have been put on a 30 day improvement plan by my company, however for medical reasons, I have been given a doctor’s excuse to need to take off for a few weeks. I have 3 months of sick time and I am going to need it. If they let me go, then I will not get to use the medical leave that I have built up.

Asked on July 4, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, Alabama

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Employers may terminate employees due to absenteeism--even medically caused absenteeism--or poor performance--even poor performance again due to medical causes. IF you have been performing to standards while at work and have been using either earned sick days or FMLA unpaid leave for which you are eligible (and your company is covered by FMLA) for your absences, you should not be terminated, because in this case, you have used benefits you have earned and/or to which you are legally entitled to cover your absences. However, if you have missed work--not just entire days, but been late in or early out, or taken time off mid-day--for medical reasons without using earned PTO or FMLA leave, that is absenteeism, and you could be fired for it despite the medical reason(s).


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