Can you be fired for missing work even if a doctor signs a work release due to a medical emergency?

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Can you be fired for missing work even if a doctor signs a work release due to a medical emergency?

My wife started working at her new job about 2 weeks ago. She was still in training and going through a probation period. During the middle of this week she was in pain and I drove her to the ER. Turns out she needs her gall bladder removed due to gall stones. Her surgery isn’t until next week but the doctor signed a work release form stating that she couldn’t go back to work until next week. They just fired her today because of it and we were just wondering if they could legally dothat? I understand she was still in a probation period, but would that really make it legal?

Asked on July 1, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Kansas

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If you are an "at will" employee then you can be fired for any reason - and no reason - at all by your employer.  Although I think that it is really reprehensible that they did this toher I am not sure that it was illegal per se, which would be a suit for wrongful termination.  If they have a policy regarding termination during probationary period or as to employees and emergency situations and they violated their own policy then maybe. How they handle things on a regular basis with employees will matter here.  I would call your department of labor and speak with someone there about the matter in detail. Good luck to you with everything.


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