CanI be fired for taking time off after a car accident?

UPDATED: Apr 6, 2011

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CanI be fired for taking time off after a car accident?

I was terminated, but I think it was wrongful. I was out after an accident. I believe I qualified for FMLA based on the number of hours that I worked, however this was never looked into. I called in every so often as the supervisor requested and was on a “personal leave”. I went back, worked for 3 days, and then she told me that I was on administrative leave. I was terminated 5 days later. Now she says it was for not calling in but she knew and I communicated with her. She named 2 specific dates but on one of them we had contact. She said it was for the 03/20-21. I didn’t return to work until 3/30; fired 4/6.

Asked on April 6, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, North Carolina


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

If you did not have an employment contract (or operate under a union or collective bargaining agreement), you are an employee at will and may be fired at any time, for any reason...including for taking time off work, even if you communicated with a supervisor. You cannot be fired for having used FMLA leave, but there are three issues to resolve:

1) Are you covered, based on how many hours, for how long, you've worked?

2) Is the employer covered; for example, must have at least 50 employees, I believe?

3) Did you actually request FMLA leave the proper way? If not, the employer is not required to "guess" that you are using FMLA leave.

Go to the department of labor website and look up FMLA leave and compare to you and the company's situation; if you think that you may have been fired for validly using FMLA leave, the next step would be to consult with an employment attorney. Good luck.

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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