Can I get fired for medical issues?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can I get fired for medical issues?

I have worked at my job for 9 years. In 2013 II found out that I have breast cancer. Went through chemo, lumpectomy and radiation . Then in 2015 the breast cancer moved into my right lung and I had to have the lower lobe and middle lobe removed. While having surgery 12 lymph nodes was removed 1 came back positive for cancer. I was treated with the chemo pills. In May of 2016 I feel and broke my right knee cap and left wrist also cancer came back in the lymph nodes in the stertum and in my neck. I was off until December 6, 2016.When I came back to work there was a new director. I went in and talked to him about working weekends to make up what I missed during the week. I was told sure don’t push yourself if you feel tired go home work when your able. 2 days ago I was called in the office and told I had to work at least 70 to 80 hours every 2 weeks. that’s how our payroll runs Which I have been working no less than 70 hours now. I was told I wasn’t going to get fired. First he said he didn’t want me to work anymore on weekends then he said text my supervisor when I do come in on weekends so he could check on me. None of this is making any since. I don’t trust this new director. What should I do in case they do fire me?

Asked on January 29, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Tennessee


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

If your company's normal work week for a full time employee (I am assuming for purposes of this answer that you are full-time) is 70+ hours, then you can be terminated for not working 70+ hours, unless the diminished hours are "covered" by the use of paid time off (e.g. you use vacation or sick leave to make up the time) or FMLA leave (which can be sporadic--it does not have to be taken as one lump sum--though you and your company both have to be eligible for it). That is because in this instance, you are not being fired for your medical issues, but for absenteeism or missing work. While an employer must make "reasonable accommodations" to an employee's disability(ies) or medical issues, letting them work less than the job normally requires is *not* considered a reasonable accommodation--the employer can be required to work the job's normal hours. So if your position would normally work 70+ hours, they can require that of you.

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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