Can I be fired due to illness/being out on sick leave?

UPDATED: Jun 23, 2012

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Can I be fired due to illness/being out on sick leave?

I think I was fired due to my being on sick leave. The Tuesday prior to my being out on sick leave I was told I was doing s great job. The day I returned from sick leave I was placed on a performance improvement plan and my job was posted. Now that I have applied for unemployment, my former employer is claiming I was fired for misconduct. Do I need a lawyer? Do I have any grounds for legal action? I would love my job back, but at this point all I really want is to be rid of my racist manager and to collect unemployment until I can find a new job.

Asked on June 23, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Virginia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If you did not have an employment contract, you could generally be fired at any time, for any reason or even no reason (i.e.  your employer simply wanted to fire you), so you may not be able to recover you job. However, while the odds are against you if you do not have a  contract, since you would be an "employee at will," it's not impossible that you may have a claim for wrongful termination, if you could show that you were fired for using sick days which you had earned or accrued as part of your employment, and/or for taking sick leave after your employer had promised you that you could use it. It may be worthwhile consulting with an employment law attorney, to discuss the situation in more detail. There is a chance you may be entitled to either reinstatement or compensation.

You also refer to your manager as "racist." Racial discrimiantion in the workplace is illegal; if you can show that your termination was due to racism, then you may also have a legal claim on that ground. Again, it would be worthwhile to consult with an employment law attorney.

Also, if you are fired but not for cause--e.g. not for misconduct--you would be eligible for unemployment. You should apply for it; if your employer tries to deny by claiming you were fired for misconduct, you can present you own evidence and testimony to refute that. You attorney can help you with this, too.

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.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption