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I was recently hired for a new job and have just be diagnosed with a serious illness. I will need to have some treatment that may have me miss some work now and then for some medical appointments and/or treatments. Could I lose my job because of this?

Asked on September 20, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, New Jersey


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you can be terminated for being absent from work, even if it is due to a medical condition or for medical treatment, unless you either have and use paid time off (PTO) like sick days to cover the absence (which is unlikely, if you were just hired) or qualify for and use FMLA leave (which is not possible, if you have not been employed here for at least a year--and even if you were, the employer would have to have at least 50 employees to be covered under FMLA). 
While the law prohibits firing someone because they *have* an illness or medical condition, it does not prevent them from being terminated for their actions, including missing work, even if those action flow out of the illness. Only the fact of the illness is "protected"; what you do (or don't do) can provide the basis for termination.

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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