Wife being let go because of medical issue

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Wife being let go because of medical issue

My wife has a thyroid issue that caused her to pass
out 2 times on December 4th. That day is the only
day she passed out. Doctors placed her in a
medication that is helping until they can decide what
surgery to do. Our employer told her not to come
back until it was fixed due to liability Incase of injury.
She is hearing from others at work that he is going to
let her go. I understand Ohio is a right to work state
but this medical issue is in the process of being
taken care of so can he fire her for this disability?

Asked on January 10, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Ohio


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

She can be terminated if she may pass out at out work, and the evidence of passing out twice in a month suggests this is a risk. Her passing out at work does expose the employer to liability if she hurts herself when falling/passing out, or somehow hurts another (e.g. falls into or on them), or potentially causes damage (e.g. knocks over a computer and breaks out; knocks over something else electrical and starts a fire, etc.). She can't be terminated for simply having a condition, but if she has passed out at work (which your question implies), she can terminated for what actually happens and the risks (incuding liability) it imposes on the employer. You say that the medical issue "is in the process of being taken care of," not that it has already been resolved: if there still a risk of her passing out at work, they may take action. 
If the employer is large enough to be covered by FMLA (at least 50 employees withing a 75-mile radius) and your wife is eligible for it (worked there at least one year; worked at least 1,250 hours in the past 12 months) and particularly if you believe that you may have the issue resolved within 12 weeks (and be able to provide doctor or medical evidence of its resolution), you and she may wish to consider her using FMLA leave during her treatment. She may not be terminated while on FMLA leave or for having used it. So if she can resolve the situation within around 3 months and can use FMLA, this may be an option.

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.

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