Termination During Sick Leave

Can my employer fire me during a sick leave?


     Usually not.  There are a few laws which an employer could violate by firing an employee during a sick leave, but there is no general prohibition against it in all circumstances.

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) prohibits employers of 50 or more employees from denying an employee a leave for a serious health condition.  Those leaves can be 12 weeks under the federal law, 16 weeks under Connecticut law (over 75 employees).  Accordingly, if you are on a protected FMLA leave and the time has not run out, you may not be fired or replaced unless the employer would have done so even if you hadn’t taken the leave.

     Disability discrimination laws (ADA, CFEPA) prohibit employers from firing employees with disabilities.  If your sick leave is because of a disability, it would be illegal to fire you.
The Workers Compensation Act prohibits retaliation against an employee for exercising her rights under the Act.  An employer who fired an employee during a workers’ compensation leave could be violating those anti-retaliation provisions.
There may be other laws that prevent being fired on sick leave, including claims that the employer’s sick leave policy is contractually binding.

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