Can I be disciplined for using my sick days?

Probably not- as long as you have the sick time available to you as paid time off and don’t abuse the policy. If you have the accrued sick time, your employer can require documentation from a doctor to show that you aren’t using your sick days as vacation days and goofing off. That said, you shouldn’t be disciplined for the legitimate use of sick time as provided by your employer’s policy.

– If are sick and have documentation, and your employer disciplines you for using legitimate sick time, you could have a claim for misrepresentation if the employer’s policies state that you have a certain number of sick days and you use them in reliance on this policy. Check policies and handbooks carefully.

– Discipline of this sort could also form the basis of a claim for discrimination if you are sick due to a disability as defined under state or federal law. If you are truly ill, and use the time permitted to you under company policy, you should not be disciplined for using it even if it adds up.

– If you qualify for FMLA leave, you may be required by your employer to use that time and sick paid time off concurrently, but you may not be disciplined or otherwise retaliated against for using this time. This is a serious offense that carries heavy penalties for the employer.

However, you should be aware that there is something called “sick leave abuse” that employers are increasingly aware of. Employers can track sick time taken and will notice if you are taking lots of Fridays in the summer off.


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