Can some be terminated without first being suspended?

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Can some be terminated without first being suspended?

My wife was terminated because of her attendance but she still had sick time and vacation time available. She was verbally warned 3 times following a written warning. She has a medical condition that was never communicated to her employer.

Asked on March 10, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Massachusetts

Answers:

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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

First of all, unless your wife informed her employer about her medical condition, her employer could not be expected to "accomodate" it. As for her firing, the fact is that most employment arrangemnts are what is known as "at will". This means that a company can set the conditions of employment much as it sees fit. Therefore, unless your wife was afforded protection under the terms of a union agreement, employment contract or company policy, she could be fired for any reason or no reason at all, with or without first be placed on suspension. Also, her treatment must not have been due to some form of legally actionable discrimination, however that does not appear to be the case here.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

1) There is no legal requirement to suspend someone first, before terminating them.
2) Unless your wife had an employment contract limiting the reasons she could be fired, or setting forth some process that must be followed to terminate her, she was an employee at will; an employee at will may be terminated at any time, for any reason whatsoever, without prior warning or notice.
3) A medical condition not communicated to the employer is irrelevant, because if the employer did not know about it, they had no duty to accommodate it and could not have discriminated against her due to the  condition.


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