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Back to School Edition: Can I be fired or disciplined for leaving work when my kid is sick?

Unfortunately, there is no law protecting parents from being fired or disciplined for having to leave work when their children are sick.  However, depending on the nature of the child’s illness, the size of the employer and length of time you’ve been employed, the employer’s policies, and the kind of work you do, you may be protected in this circumstance.

  • if the child suffers from a “severe and chronic” illness, taking leave to care for him or her could potentially be protected by the Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act’s protection of persons with disabilities.
  • if the employer is subject to the state or federal Family and Medical Leave Act www.ctdol.state.ct.us for guidance), you may be entitled to take FMLA leave for these types of absences.  This also depends on the nature of the illness- it must be severe enough to require three days away from work or school and you may need to present a doctor’s certification.
  • check your employer’s policies carefully, and make a note of the consequences other employees have suffered in similar circumstances.

You may have “sick time” that you can take in the case of a child’s illness without consequence. If you think that certain other workers have not been disciplined for taking time off when a child is sick, you may also be subject to discrimination if you are disciplined. (E.g., female workers never seem to get in trouble, but you, a male, are written up.)

There may be other circumstances in which you are protected, so if you have questions, contact us at The Hayber, McKenna & Dinsmore