Can my employer fire me for being sick?

No, employers are not allowed to terminate, discipline or otherwise retaliate against employees who take sick leave. Although you may be fired from your job while on sick leave, you cannot be fired simply for taking any protected sick leave to which you were entitled.

The California Family Rights Act allows employees to use job-protected sick leave for a serious health condition or to care for an ill loved one, among other reasons. Employers cannot deny workers the right to use their accrued sick leave. An employee who is fired for using earned sick leave may have a legal claim for wrongful termination.

The Family and Medical Leave Act provides federal protections. Eligible employees can take up to 12 weeks off in a 12-month period for several reasons, including a serious health condition or the birth of a child. Employees are allowed to return to their jobs once the sick leave is over. Firing or retaliating against a worker who takes leave is unlawful.

Another law that may apply is the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA does not explicitly require employers to grant sick leave. However, an employee may have a wrongful termination claim if their employer fires them for taking time off as a reasonable accommodation related to a disability.

A point to note is that most employees in California are at-will, meaning they may be fired for any legal reason at all. Taking sick leave does not provide absolute protection from being fired. For example, your employer may fire you for failing to provide notice before going on leave or not complying with company policies.

If you believe you have been fired for an illegal reason or been denied your right to use accrued sick leave, contact Erlich Law Firm right away. If your employer terminated you because you took sick leave, you might have a wrongful termination claim. Discuss your case with an experienced employment law attorney who can help you understand your rights regarding sick leave and other types of protected leave.

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My parents were heavily involved in community organizing. Seeing neighbors and friends’ parents struggle in the workplace gave me a sense of purpose that I wanted to help others. Many employees feel helpless and powerless in the workplace, and helping them vindicate their rights is the right thing to do.

- Jason Erlich

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Jason Erlich made me feel like I was in the right place right away.I had some serious problems with a previous employer and he took care of everything. From the start he helped with my concerns and fears going up against a big corporation.

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With Jason’s expertise, commitment and aggressiveness, the case is now over and it’s only been 6 months!! I would HIGHLY recommend Jason Erlich to anyone that needs an employment lawyer.

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When employees' legal rights are violated, we take time to explain their legal options, listen to their goals, and aggressively argue their case until we achieve the resolution they deserve.