Can I get fired for missing work for my child’s illness?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Can I get fired for missing work for my child’s illness?

I am a single mother of 2 kids; 1 of whom is disabled. Before I started employment 7 years ago I informed my employer of this. It is a part-time job, 26 hours a week or less. My child has recently been sick and has had to have surgery. I have had to miss a lot because of staying home with him. Babysitters are not an option because of his disability. My employer recently told me that if I didn’t stop missing work he would replace me. I need to know my legal rights in this situation?

Asked on February 19, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Missouri

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

While seemingly unfair, your employment can be terminated for this reason. In fact, it can be terminated for any reason or no reason at all. This is called "at will" employment. The only exceptions would be if this action violates company policy, an employment contract or union agreement. Also, this treatment must not constitue some form of legally actionable discimination. And last but not least, you cannot be fired for taking this time off if you used any available PTO or this absence was covered under the FMLA (Famiy Medical Leave Act).
Note: In order to be eligible for FMLA time, you must work a certain number of hours (which you may not have) and your company must employ 50 or more people. here is a link to a site that will explain more: https://employment-law.freeadvice.com/employment-law/wage_and_hour/fmla.htm

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you can be fired for this reason, as unfair as it seems, unless:
1) You have and use enough paid time off to cover the absences;
2) Your employer is covered by and you are eligible for Family and Medical Leave Act leave (FMLA) and use it for unpaid leave to cover the absences--based on what you write, there is a good chance you are not eligible (for not working enough hours), and also your employer would only be covered if it has 50 or more employees (you can find the exact standards for FMLA leave  on the U.S. Dept. of Labor website).
The law doesn't require employers to retain employees who cannot or do no show up for work, even for good reasons, except as above.


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.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption