Published on May 13th, 2008 by Alan L Sklover
Question: Can an employer terminate an at-will employee for exercising medical leave? Or terminate for other reasons while the employee is out on sick leave?
Wayne, Waukesha, WI
Answer: I don’t know of any law in any state that gives an “at will” employee (that is, a person without an employment contract) any protection from being fired, even if they are out on medical leave.
However, the federal Family Medical Leave Act (often called “FMLA”), does give employees who are sick, or who have someone in their family who is sick, a right to take off up to 12 weeks, without pay, and guarantees them (with limited exceptions) their job when their leave time is up. The employee has to ask their employer for the forms to fill out, and have their doctor certify that the time off would be beneficial.
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Best, Al Sklover
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