Is it illegal for an employer to fire an individual that was told by their doctor not to work?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Is it illegal for an employer to fire an individual that was told by their doctor not to work?

Asked on February 11, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Washington

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

No, it was not illegal to discharge you for not working, regardless if it was per doctor's orders. The only exceptions to this would be if you had sufficient PTO (or sick days) to cover your time off, or you were covered under the Family Medical Leave Act ("FMLA"). With respect to the latter, eligability is based on the employer having 50 or more employees and the employee having been employed there for at least a year and have worked 1,250 hours during that time.  
You can also check to see what, if anything, company policy says about such a situation or if your termination violated the terms of an employment contract or union agreement. Also, your discharge must not have been the result of some form of legally actionable discrimination. Otherwise, subject to all of the foregoing, your employer can fire you for your absences, or for any or no reason at all. 

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Yes, it is legal unless:
1) you have and use sufficient paid time off (e.g. sick days) to cover your absence; and or
2) Your job is covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act (e.g.  at least 50 employees) and you are eligible for it (e.g. have worked there at least a year and worked at least 1,250 hours in the last year) and properly use FMLA unpaid leave.
Otherwise, the law does not make employers retain employees who cannot or will not work, even for medical reasons.


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 AttorneyPages.com 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.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption