Can my employer terminate my employment due to chronic illness that may have been caused by my office environment?

UPDATED: Sep 6, 2012

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Can my employer terminate my employment due to chronic illness that may have been caused by my office environment?

This has has lead to calling out several times over the past 3 months.

Asked on September 6, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, New York


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If you cannot do your job or are excessively absent (e.g. absent more than you have sick or other paid time off days to cover, or more than you can and have used FMLA or similar unpaid leave for), then yes, your employer may terminate you--employers are not required to retain employees who cannot do their job or who are absent without authorization or legal support (e.g. the Family and Medical Leave Act), regardless of the reason. However, if you believe you have been sickened or made ill by the environment at work (by physical conditions, not emotional or mental stress--stress is not actionable), then you should speak with an attorney; you may be eligible for Worker's Compensation or disability, or be able to sue the employer.

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