can you let go of an employee if they missed 5 weeks of work due to illness?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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can you let go of an employee if they missed 5 weeks of work due to illness?

a doctor’s note has not been provided. can you let them go without violating
their rights? we are in GA

Asked on October 15, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Georgia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

A doctor's note does NOT let an employee miss work; nor does having a legitimate medical condition or disability. She can only miss work without you being able to fire her if one or both of the following were true:
1) She has and uses paid time off (PTO) she earned to cover the absence; and/or
2) Your company is covered by the Family and Medical Lease Act (FMLA) (which means you have  at least 50 employees who all work within a 75-mile radius) and she is eligible for this unpaid FMLA leave (she has been with you at least a year; she has worked at least 1,250 hours in the past 12 months) and uses FMLA leave. FMLA leave is for up to 12 weeks.
Missing work without the absence being covered by PTO or FMLA is grounds for termination, despite the doctor's note.

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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