Is it fair that I lost my job due to “habitual absenteeism” even ifI was out sick leave and had a note from my doctor?

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Is it fair that I lost my job due to “habitual absenteeism” even ifI was out sick leave and had a note from my doctor?

I feel I lost my job unfairly. I even worked against my doctor’s advise because I am scared of my supervisor. And now, she said I am an habitual absentee. Last month, I had a back injury at work and was advised to stay at home. This month, I got influenza so again my doctor advised me to stay home. I worked in a nursing home. Last month she forced me to sign a reevaluation after I got sick leave. Now, I lost my job.

Asked on January 30, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If you took Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave and were fired for using it, that is illegal. Only companies with more than 50 employees in a 75 mile radius are covered by the law, and you would also have had to have worked there for a year, full time (more-or-less); also, your condition must be sufficiently serious (e.g. influenza may not be serious enough).

Otherwise, your company most likely can terminate you. Assuming that you do not have an employment contract, you are an employee at will. A company may terminate an employee at will whenever it wants, for any reason, including a belief that you are out of work too often.

Note that your company--or any company--does not have to follow a doctor's note or advice; the doctor does not have any authority over your employer.


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