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Can you get fired from a job if you have a doctors note stating you're excused from work?
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Can you get fired from a job if you have a doctors note stating you're excused from work?

My fiance just started a new job about three weeks ago. He has a herrniated disc in his back and the last time he had a bad episode of pain was around New Years Eve. About a week he is having another really bad episode, worse than the previous. Baically his MRI showed a very bad disc and he gets shooting pain down his right leg. He lings around and had to use crutches for the first few days, but now he can limp around. He has had two back surgeries in the past. At this point his doctor told him he is too heavy to get a third. He wants him to be about 240 pounds and he is about 300. So in the past week he had prescriptions for all kinds of meds including percs, norcos, somas and a dermeral shot as well as an epidural, which he also had three epidurals over the summer and was feeling better. His pain is still so bad. The doc gave him Mylan Fentanyl patches. You are supposed to keep one on for 72 hours, then put on another. Well I discovered that he had put on 3 at one time because he was still in sooo much pain!! His note was to excuse him from work last week, and I am sure that they will write another note to excuse him longer. But can he get fired for this? He is a great worker, but in sales and his manager has been excited to have him onboard. And I just so worried about what will happen. Someone with experience and knowledge about this, please help. This is the most stressful thing for me...he is even talking suicide! Any feedback on either his back pain or the job situation is greatly appreciated. Thank you.


Right now, the suicide issue needs to be addressed. Contact his physician immediately. He is taking some very potent drugs. Did you know that abusing those pain patches can cause a heart attack? Additionally, if he is abusing the patches he is probably abusing some of that narcotic medication. If you care about him, notify his physician immediately. Perhaps he needs to be hospitalized for a short time to get the pain under control. They can also get him a consult while in the hospital with a dietician who can teach him what he needs to eat. I know how hard it is to lose the weight especially while you are in pain. Been there, done that. I suspect he is either pre-diabetic or a full blown diabetic also.

Yes he can be fired for not coming to work as scheduled, even if he has a doctor's note. The employer isn't bound by that.

There is a federal law called FMLA that allows up to 12 weeks (unpaid) leave for medical reasons including family medical issues, but there are several rules to be eligible for that, and one is that you have to have been employed at that job for a year.

First, lets talk of his weight. I have the feeling that his weight is the one bearing down on him and the roots of his miseries. Why not have him go on a rigid diet?

Second, about the subject of suicide. Please tell him, don't.
There is always a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Bear it out. This is not the end of the world.

Third, regarding his job, I think, he can be fired. As the saying goes, you can't get something for nothing. The company just can't afford to wait at the expense of their performance.

Most likely, they can re-hire him again after he gets well.
Wow! I supposed the medication is too expensive. Why not lost weight right away. 300 lbs is too much.

Sofa King
Yes you can be fired from your job if you don't show up for it. Having a doctors note means nothing if he violated the company policy by not coming in.

he can be fired for excessive absenteeism regardless of the reason for the absences. if he had been employed for over 12 months he may have qualified for FMLA but that is only a possibility as all illnesses do not qualify for FMLA coverage. he also might possibly (not likely) be protected under ADA but that is only the case if he can perform the essential duties of the job with or without reasonable accommodation and being absent from work is not something that can be reasonably accommodated for by most employers.

if he does a good job and the employer can work with him until he is healthy enough to work this may not be a problem. it is all a matter of how the employer feels about his performance up to this point and if they can do without someone in the position until he is healthy enough to get back to work.

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