Can a job fire you for being sick?

Can a job fire you for being sick
Everyone requires a sick day now and then. Some people become ill more frequently than others. And other people get so ill that they are afraid of losing their jobs. So, can a job fire you for being sick?  It depends, as it always does.

There is no federal statute that protects ill persons from being dismissed. There is also no law that guarantees sick workers compensated sick leave. As a result, we must rely on other legislation to secure our sick leave. The majority of jobs in America are at-will. For those who are unfamiliar, at-will employment means that you can be dismissed at any moment for any cause. With the exception that the cause cannot be illegal.

When you’re unwell, the last thing you want to do is go to work (for your own sake and the sake of your coworkers). That’s what sick days are for, and leaving work every now and then because you’ve caught a terrible case of the flu, a stomach virus, or you’re just feeling under the weather shouldn’t jeopardize your employment.

When you’re unwell, the last thing you want to do is go to work (for your own sake and the sake of your coworkers). That’s what sick days are for, and leaving work every now and then because you’ve caught a terrible case of the flu, a stomach virus, or you’re just feeling under the weather shouldn’t jeopardize your employment.

Or, in other words, can you get fired for being sick too much?

You Need to Call in Sick and Take Sick Leave

Sick days may be tricky. Employers are not required by law to provide you with them. However, a few of states have legislation forcing firms to provide employees with sick leave.

In certain states where there are no sick leave legislation, towns have created laws granting employees sick leave.Cities with paid sick leave legislation include Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

Whatever the case may be, you must adhere to your company’s sick leave policy. This includes phoning in sick if necessary. Something in the law or corporate policy most certainly forces you to do so.

Sick leave legislation are typically accompanied with employment protection. This implies that your company cannot dismiss you in retaliation for taking sick leave. This would be considered unjust termination.

The phrase “fire you because of your illness” is significant. What if your boss reveals you the real reason for your dismissal? That is, the explanation they provide has nothing to do with your illness. You may have grounds for an employment lawsuit in this situation. Employers who give false justifications for terminating their employees frequently face wrongful termination claims. You’re an excellent employee, for example. You’ve never received a poor performance evaluation. However, your employer terminates you while you are unwell.

In this situation, you’d have a strong argument that the reason for your dismissal was fabricated. You were obviously a terrific employee all along. Then you get ill. You’d have a strong argument that your illness was the cause of your dismissal. This is compelling proof of retribution and unlawful termination. However, if there is no sick leave law in place, your employer may terminate you for false grounds. The fake justification must not be criminal as well. However, most of the time, if your employer presents a fake explanation, it is also an unlawful cause.

Understanding at-will employment—and how it relates to being fired for being sick

When an employee is employed at will, their employer is free to terminate them for any reason. If you’re an at-will employee, your employer has the right to dismiss you for any reason or for no reason, and you also have the right to leave your position at any time.

Therefore, if you’re an at-will employee and your boss decides you’ve taken too many sick days, they are free to fire you without having to explain their decision. They are also not required to let you know that your illness or your excessive absences as a result of that illness were a contributing factor.

Nevertheless, every rule has an exception, and at-will employment is no different. There are several circumstances in which it is illegal for your employer to terminate you for missing work because you were unwell or were “too sick” frequently.

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Family and Medical Leave Act

Not all employees are protected by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), but if you are, you have the ability to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid time off in a year (often known as FMLA leave) for a variety of qualifying reasons, such as:

  • Bringing up a new child
  • Taking care of a member of the close family who has a critical illness
  • Severe disease (for example, an illness requiring inpatient care; incapacity due to pregnancy, prenatal care, or a condition that requires continuing treatment from a health care provider; or a serious health condition, like a terminal illness)

The Family and Medical Leave Act Might Protect You

The Family and Medical Leave Act may allow you to take time off if you are very ill and need it (FMLA).

The federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) entitles qualified workers to up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave every year if a serious health condition renders them unable to work. If your illness is severe enough, the FMLA may allow you to take time off. Make careful to notify your employer in advance if you want to take a leave of absence. This increases your legal protections. Additionally, you should be aware that a significant health condition is a lesser requirement under the FMLA than one that seriously restricts a major life activity.

This indicates that obtaining FMLA leave is simpler than obtaining ADA reasonable accommodations.

Finally, FMLA safeguards employment. You may file an FMLA interference claim if your employer tries to stop you from taking the leave. You may file an FMLA retaliation claim if your employer dismisses you as a result of taking it. Additionally, you may occasionally use FMLA if a member of your family is ill.

Workers’ Compensation Laws and Job Protection

Workers’ compensation insurance reimburses medical expenses and partially replaces lost wages for employees who are unable to work due to a work-related accident or sickness for the majority of companies in the majority of states.

State laws oversee workers’ compensation, thus the laws vary based on where you work. Employers are not allowed to fire or discipline a worker who files a workers’ compensation claim in any state.

States, however, differ over whether or not an employer can terminate a worker who is unable to work due to a workers’ compensation injury.

In what cases can you be fired due to sickness?

Employees can be fired in New York for any reason that is permissible under the law, whether that reason is good, terrible, or none at all. Typically, this also implies being ill. However, anti-discrimination rules can be applicable if a worker’s “illness” qualifies as a handicap.

For instance, a physical or mental impairment that significantly restricts one or more key living activities is considered a handicap under federal law. In contrast, New York does not need employees to show that a significant living activity is impacted by their impairment. According to New York State law, a disability is any physical, mental, or medical condition that makes it impossible for a person to perform a certain bodily function.

As a result, an employer often cannot simply terminate an employee for being unwell if the illness meets one or more criteria for a handicap. However, at-will employees can be fired for being unwell with little recourse if the illness does not meet the criteria for a disability.

In what cases is it wrongful termination?

If an employee is fired because of a disease that becomes severe enough to qualify as a legally recognized disability, it may be considered unjust termination. Additionally, if a handicapped worker asks for a reasonable accommodation, an employer is required by federal law to prove that doing so will significantly interfere with daily operations.

The safeguards may go much farther under state and local law. In order to answer requests for reasonable accommodations, businesses in New York State and New York City are required to have a cooperative conversation with their staff members. Therefore, it may be illegal or “wrongful termination” to fire handicapped employees without first offering those accommodations or having properly discussed reasonable accommodations.

FAQs

Can you be Fired for Calling in Sick too Many Times?

You’ve undoubtedly phoned in ill once or twice, like in the case above. Some employers could decide to let you go merely because of this. especially if there are no sick leave provisions offered by your state or locality. And, regrettably, you would need to support your claims in court. The same is true for overusing the sick leave policy. You might be fired by your employer. And at this point, they can claim that the cause is that you were unable to complete your task.

Perhaps your sick days caused work-related issues. Perhaps it made it more difficult for you to complete your assignment. These are all factors that might affect how well you perform at work. And your termination by your employer can feel reasonable. Additionally, you could have used up all of your sick leave benefits by this point. Sick days don’t last forever. even if a law in your state or city protects it.

Final thoughts

It definitely depends. If you were fired while out sick, you would most certainly have a strong case. If you are an excellent employee, you will have a better one. If you were fired as a result of taking or attempting to seek FMLA leave, you probably have a compelling case for retaliation or interference.

Even though employment is at will, businesses should usually avoid firing sick employees. It’s a poor idea to terminate good staff due to illness.

Finally, most employers are aware of the applicable legislation. That doesn’t mean that all employers make terrible judgments. But that is why lawsuits are filed and cases go to court.

If you were fired after calling in ill, you should contact an employment lawyer to get legal guidance regarding your state legislation as well as your other rights under employment law. Many employees put it off until it’s too late.

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