Can a Job Fire You for Being Hospitalized?
It is a common fear for workers: being hospitalized because of an illness or injury and, as a result, being fired from their job. Fortunately, in the eyes of the law, this conduct is not acceptable.
Unless you are employed as an at-will worker (which means the employer and employee have a written agreement stating that the employer does not have to give any reason for termination), it is illegal for an employer to terminate your employment for being hospitalized.
You are usually protected under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). All public employers are expected to uphold their end of this contract, as well as private employers that have 50 or more employees and other criteria.
The FMLA requires employers to accommodate employees who take medical leave due to a serious medical condition and provides job protection, meaning that you are not fired and you are allowed to return to work when medically cleared by a doctor.
What To Do
If you believe you were fired for being hospitalized, you may want to contact an attorney who specializes in discrimination and wrongful termination. You should be aware that most cases are dismissed, so you should always research your case before filing any claims.
In the meantime, here are some steps you can take to protect yourself if you find yourself in a situation where you are hospitalized and may face termination:
- Notify your employer: Make sure your employer is aware of the situation. Make sure you are proactive and let them know what is going on and when you plan to be back to work.
- Keep documentation: Have your doctor write a note stating the illness or injury and provide a timeline for when you can return to work.
- Follow the law: Remember, if your employer is covered by the FMLA, then you are legally protected.
Being hospitalized can be a stressful time, but it should not be feared because of job loss. In most cases, your employer must comply with the law and allow you to return to your job safely.