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I was recently hired for a new job and have just be diagnosed with a serious illness. I will need to have some treatment that may have me miss some work now and then for some medical appointments and/or treatments. Could I lose my job because of this?
Asked on September 20, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, New Jersey
SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney
Answered 5 years ago | Contributor
Yes, you can be terminated for being absent from work, even if it is due to a medical condition or for medical treatment, unless you either have and use paid time off (PTO) like sick days to cover the absence (which is unlikely, if you were just hired) or qualify for and use FMLA leave (which is not possible, if you have not been employed here for at least a year--and even if you were, the employer would have to have at least 50 employees to be covered under FMLA).
While the law prohibits firing someone because they *have* an illness or medical condition, it does not prevent them from being terminated for their actions, including missing work, even if those action flow out of the illness. Only the fact of the illness is "protected"; what you do (or don't do) can provide the basis for termination.
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