Is it legal to fire a mom for calling in because she has to take a sick baby to the doctor or hospital?

UPDATED: Feb 27, 2012

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Is it legal to fire a mom for calling in because she has to take a sick baby to the doctor or hospital?

My grandaughter just called me very upset she texted her manager and told her that she could not make it in until late because she had to take her baby (6 months old) to the doctor because he has a very high temp and a bad cough that sounds like pneumonia The only appointment they had was 5:45 and she was suppose to be in work at 5:00). I think she should take the baby to the hospital he is that sick from what she tells me. her manager told her if she didn’t come in she wouldn’t have a job she would get a no show. I am very upset that this chain let’s managers get away with this. My grandaughter has worked for 12 days straight (she is only part time) and now calls in because of a sick baby and is threatened to be fired. Is this legal or do we have to go to elsewhere about this situation?

Asked on February 27, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Florida


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

It is probably legal, unfortunately. The law does not require employers to either give employees sick days or to allow them to be late to work due to illness or medical care. Employers may, except as below, fire an employee who misses work due to sickness (her own or family members'), unless the employer voluntarily implemented a policy (suchy as sick days, or a call-in policy which allows employees to call in sick or late some number of times) otherwise.

The only exception in FL would be if an employee and employer were both covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act, the medical condition was serious enough, and the employee took FMLA leave. However, a part-time employee would almost certainly not be covered (not enough hours); and also, unless the baby required several days  of medical care, the condition would likely not be serious enough either.

What you write about is unfair and unjust, but it is not illegal.

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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