Is it legal to lay off someone due to medical issues?

UPDATED: Dec 28, 2012

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Is it legal to lay off someone due to medical issues?

Asked on December 28, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Pennsylvania


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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

As a general rule, an employer may fire an employee who misses work if that person did not use accrued leave (e.g. sick time or PTO) for the absence. The fact is that there is no general right to miss work. However, if both you and your employer met the criteria for coverage under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), it may be that you had the right to take leave (unpaid) although even in such a case, you generally have to ask for the leave first. Therefore, while you might have some legal recourse, there is very good chance you do not. Accordingly, your discharge was proper

Note: In order to be eligible for FMLA, there are certain criteria that must be met: the company at which you worked must have had at least 50 employees within a 75-mile radius; you must have worked at least 12 months (which do not have to be consecutive) for the employer and you must also have worked at least 1,250 hours during the 12 months immediately before the date FMLA leave is to begin. Further, an employer need not count employment prior to a break in service of 7 years or more unless there was a written agreement between the employer and employee to rehire the employee or the break in service was due to fulfillment of military service in the National Guard or Reserves.

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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