Is it legal to fire someone for going to the hospital?

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Is it legal to fire someone for going to the hospital?

I went to the hospital due to being in excruciating pain that prohibited me from walking, sitting, lying down, and doing my job. That made me go into the negatives of my UPT unpaid time off points. The next day I went into work with a hospital note saying that I went to the ER, and the next day they terminated me for going. Is that even legal?

Asked on March 16, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Georgia

Answers:

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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

A company is free to terminate an employee who misses work because attendance is a basic job requirement. That having been said, being absent to take care of a medical emergency is legally protected if: you had available PTO (i.e. sick days or vacation time) and used them (or if the FMLA; the ADA; workers' compensation laws; state paid sick leave laws were available to you). Otherwise, unless you had protection under the terms of an employment or union/collective bargaining agreement, your employer was free to set the conditions of employment much is saw fit. In fact, an "at will" worker can be terminated for any reason or no reason at all, with or without notice.

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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

A company is free to terminate an employee who misses work because attendance is a basic job requirement. That having been said, being absent to take care of a medical emergency is legally protected if: you had available PTO (i.e. sick days or vacation time) and used them (or if the FMLA; the ADA; workers' compensation laws; state paid sick leave laws were available to you). Otherwise, unless you had protection under the terms of an employment or union/collective bargaining agreement, your employer was free to set the conditions of employment much is saw fit. In fact, an "at will" worker can be terminated for any reason or no reason at all, with or without notice. 


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