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Is it illegal to be fired for calling in sick?
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Is it illegal to be fired for calling in sick?

If I am a hardworking, dependable person who was been with an office for over a year and I call in sick once, can I technically get fired for that. Where can I find out more about this issue?


Angel Babe
no you were sick you cant get fired cuz its not your falt you got sick

Belive it or not, Nothing can happen to you legaly if you have a doctor's note for the majority of your call outs.

Most states are EMPLOYED AT WILL. They can fire you and you can quit for any reason (besides discrimination). You might still be able to get unemployement, but you prob have no case against the compnay.

make sure you get a doctors note everytime just cover your butt

depends on the state you live in i live in IL and it is an "at will" state which means they can let you go for no reason at all, but there is federal laws for illness and child birth. Number one question is did you go to the doctor or hospital? If you did you should have got a note from them. Even if you do have a note though they could find any reason to fire you and be ok if it is a at will employment state. for more info i would go to your state's dol (dept. of labor) website.

Unless your illness was covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act (which covers serious medical conditions), the employer did nothing illegal in terminating you because you missed work.

You should definitely apply for unemployment.

effin drunk
Not if you can show that you were actually sick. Like a doctor's note. Most workplaces would not require that for one day off, but they could if they wanted.

As poster JohnMike wrote unless you are covered under the Family Medical Leave Act they can terminate you. Serious illness could be anything that keeps you from performing your work duties for 3 or more days with medical documentation from a licensed physician. Additionally, if you had any accumulated sick, personal, or vacation time this could have been utilized to cover the absence and viewed as a wrongful termination.

It all depends on the policies of your particular company and any contracts you have with your employer; however, if you work in a business that applies the doctrine of American law known as "at-will employment," you as an employee can quit for no reason and an employer can fire you at any time.

At-will employment does have its exceptions, especially if discrimination is involved. Here are just a few of the anti-discrimination statutes that could help you:

* Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
* Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967
* Rehabilitation Act of 1973
* Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990

Keep in mind that not all contracts are explicit. Some examples of implied contracts, that can help you out legally, include:

* A promise from employer to an employee that he or she will only be fired for job performance.
* An employee manual stating that once you have completed an initial probationary period, you become a "permanent" employee.
* A supervisor who gave you an excellent review in a performance appraisal and stated that you will have a long future at the company as long as your good performance continues.

In most reasonable cases, calling in sick wouldn't be a reason to be fired unless it were part of a history of repeated absences that are documented and in line with written and stated company attendance policy, or was somehow dealt with irresponsibility (i.e., not informing your employer that you wouldn't be coming, etc.)

For more information, check out the sources below. Good luck!

Expert Realtor
No, but I find it very, very hard to believe that you really were fired for that reason.

By any chance was it on a holiday or a day that you previously requested off and that request was denied, and you magically got sick that day?

well if you don't have a doctors excuse you can get wrote up... i don't know about fired. If it were a lot of times you were doing this then of course you could. You should go online to your company's website and look at there policies or if they don't have one ask for a policy book from the office. But i guess technically you could for not coming in on your scheduled days.. they dont have to keep you around if your not doing what is required of you .. even if it is only once

L-ren Mac
Did they tell you that's why you got fired? If so, I don't think they can fire you for that.

I'm not too sure, but you could probably research the Americans with Disabilities Act. I think that might help answer your question more.

Alan E
In Australia you can't. I'm not sure what happens in other countries.

In most cases where someone does get fired for this sort of thing it is the tip of the iceberg. In other words there are likely to be many more incidents that have occurred. All of them individually don't amount to much but taken together they do.

However that being said I worked for a man who was strange to say the least. He fired one person twice in one night and then got them to drive him home that same night. We all got fired at some stage and just ignored it.

Loren S
contact the National Labor Relations Board in Washington d.c.

No, you cannot be fired for calling in ill. They may choose to use some other excuse to fire you but being ill is not one of them. I believe to get fired for excessive absences your work would have had to warn you or have documented it in your records prior.

ud probably only get fired if u got caught....be careful!!

you should get a hold of the human resourses dept if they have one, and see what there policy is on their attendence, if it says nothing about being let go for being absent the one time i would begin to seek legal action that they terminated you without good reason

Celestial Ninja
no it is not illegal to call in sick :D but if you do it too often then yeah, your workplace reserves the right to fire you....doesnt sound like that in this situation though. The best thing to do is to bring a doctor's note...try this forum...it's got some ppl who know what they're talking about:


jealous elf
if you are genuinely ill, then you shouldn't have any problems. but if you are not sick, lying is probably a legitimate reason to terminate employment. since most employment is at-will, you can usually be terminated for any or no reason AS LONG AS it is not related to race, religion, age, gender, or other protected category. if you do get fired for being sick or disabled (a documented illness, not a cold that comes up because the weather is nice and sunny) contact a local employment law attorney, because you might have legal rights.

if you work in a at will state you can be terminated at any time for any reason that is legal. You have really no grounds to sue and would be hard pressed to find an attorney to help. Unfortunately some of the other answer speak with their feelings instead of fact and realty. I hope that you are just being slightly paranoid and that it didn't happen.

Nick B
Well that sounds like a crock of s*** personally. I don't know why if you were in good standing that they couldn't give you one sick day. I'd take legal action as soon as possible. Whether you have to contact the Better Business Bureau, a lawyer, a combination of them, etc.

on this country you can get fired without reasons

It depends on the laws of the state you live in. For example, here in Louisiana you can fire anyone at any time for any reason except for discrimination. I can fire an employee just because the mood strikes me. Call your state labor department and ask them what the law is in your state.

You can get fired for calling in sink in free country's.

If what you said is exactly what happened then no they can not fire you. Call your local attorney office and ask to speak with someone. They can give you all the exact legal motives.

The company I worked for held it against me as a verbal write up even though I had a medical excuse and even sent me home for the pain medication i was on. Then fired me later stating I had 3 occurances

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