Can my job fire me if I have a doctor’s note?

UPDATED: May 30, 2012

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Can my job fire me if I have a doctor’s note?

I hurt my hand and called my boss and told him. However, he said that I was fired .I told him that I had a doctor’s note but he said it didn’t matter.

Asked on May 30, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Michigan


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

A doctor's note has no legal effect--employers are not obligated to honor it. If you missed work without approval or permission--or without using sick days or other PTO to cover the absence--or if you are unable to do your job due to the injury, your employer may terminate you because of the injury or the absence. The exception would be if your employer was covered by the Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which means it has at least 50 employees; you are eligible under FMLA, which means, among other things, that you have worked at least 12 months for this company and worked at least 1,250 hours in the past 12 months; the injury is sufficient to qualify you to take FMLA leave (you can find the criteria at the U.S.  Department of Labor website, under "Family and Medical Leave Act"); AND you actually took FMLA leave--if all those requirements are met, then your employer most likely cannot terminate you. However, otherwise, they most likely can.

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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