Can you be fired while on medical leave

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can you be fired while on medical leave

My doctor took me out of work from Feb
8th to Feb 28th of 2017 then again from
28th to march 21st 2017 I was
terminated from my job on March 7th
2017 is this legal for them to do.

Asked on March 30, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, North Carolina


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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

It depends. Were you out on leave under the FMLA (i.e. the Family and Medical Leave Act)? If you were and then was laid off solely due to being out on such leave, then that would be illegal. However, if it was due to other work-related reasons then that would perfectly permissable (e.g. sub-par work performance, etc.). Further, if you were not eligible for the FMLA and you did not use available PTO (i.e. sick days or vacation time), then your absences would be grounds for temination, since attendance is a basic job requirement. The only other recourse that you may have here is if your treatment constituted some form of actionable dscrimination or violated the terms of an employment contract or union agreemnt. Otherwise, as an "at will" worker, you could have been fired for any reason or no reason at all, with or without notice.

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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