What to do if my wife has been a waitress at a restaurant for over 10 years but has recently gone through a few hospitalizations and now may loose her job because of the interrupted time?

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What to do if my wife has been a waitress at a restaurant for over 10 years but has recently gone through a few hospitalizations and now may loose her job because of the interrupted time?

Her work is excellent and she is considered a model employee. Her employer feels she has become unreliable and is considering letting her go. Does she have any rights?

Asked on January 9, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Michigan

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

If she is eligible for (and the employer is covered by--which means it has at least 50 employees) FMLA leave and she used it for her absences, or else she had enough paid time off (PTO), such as sick, personal, or vacation days, and used them to cover the absences, then she should not be terminated. An employer may not terminate an employee for using federally guaranteed or provided leave, or for using PTO the employee earned.
But if she had absences not covered by FMLA leave or PTO, then she had unexcused absences and could be terminated, despite her past exemplary work history. Employers are not required to retain employees who miss work without using proper leave or PTO, even if they miss the work for medical care.


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