CanI be fired for taking time off after a car accident?

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CanI be fired for taking time off after a car accident?

I was terminated, but I think it was wrongful. I was out after an accident. I believe I qualified for FMLA based on the number of hours that I worked, however this was never looked into. I called in every so often as the supervisor requested and was on a “personal leave”. I went back, worked for 3 days, and then she told me that I was on administrative leave. I was terminated 5 days later. Now she says it was for not calling in but she knew and I communicated with her. She named 2 specific dates but on one of them we had contact. She said it was for the 03/20-21. I didn’t return to work until 3/30; fired 4/6.

Asked on April 6, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, North Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If you did not have an employment contract (or operate under a union or collective bargaining agreement), you are an employee at will and may be fired at any time, for any reason...including for taking time off work, even if you communicated with a supervisor. You cannot be fired for having used FMLA leave, but there are three issues to resolve:

1) Are you covered, based on how many hours, for how long, you've worked?

2) Is the employer covered; for example, must have at least 50 employees, I believe?

3) Did you actually request FMLA leave the proper way? If not, the employer is not required to "guess" that you are using FMLA leave.

Go to the department of labor website and look up FMLA leave and compare to you and the company's situation; if you think that you may have been fired for validly using FMLA leave, the next step would be to consult with an employment attorney. Good luck.


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