Can Your Boss Fire You for Being Sick?

It is understandable to worry about losing your job if you are in the middle of the nasty flu and you have called in sick for three days in a row. Nobody wants you to share your germs at work, but productivity can also suffer when a member of the team is out sick. If you are fired for a legitimate health issue, you and other Californians might wonder if you have legal rights.

According to FindLaw, employers can fire a worker for any reason, without warning, in an at-will employment state like California. This means that your job can be on the line if you take too many sick days, even if you have a specific number of paid personal time and sick days each year. Most employers will be understanding if an employee is too sick to go to work, but you may want to be careful about the timing and frequency of calling in sick.

On the other hand, it violates federal employment laws to discipline or terminate someone based on pregnancy, a pregnancy-related medical condition or disability. Your boss might not say why you were fired for liability reasons, but it may be worth a second look if a medical or disability situation – such as developing gestational diabetes or being injured on the job – preceded the termination.

Legal issues involving employment, disability, discrimination, and wrongful termination can be complex and sensitive. Therefore, this information should not replace the advice of an employment lawyer.

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