Can I be fired after coming back from 2 weeks medical leave?

UPDATED: May 10, 2011

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Can I be fired after coming back from 2 weeks medical leave?

No notice. Is this legal?

Asked on May 10, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, South Carolina


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

First, did you take a protected type of medical leave, such as leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act? If so, you cannot be fired because of taking the leave, though even then, you may be fired for unrelated reasons. For example: downsizing or restructuring; performance-related problems; insubordination or violation of a company policy; even just that you boss doesn't like you, if you don't have an employment contract to protect you. All the protected types of leave, like FMLA (if you and your employer were both qualified to be covered under it, and you complied with its requirements) is protect you from being fired due to the leave itself. However, if you were going to be fired anyway, many employers, if they know you are going on leave, will wait until you get back.

Second, if you did not use a protected leave, but simply told the company you need time off for medical reasons, they may well have been able to fire you--the law does not generally require companies to provide sick or leave time, only pursuant to specific requirements, like FMLA.

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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