Can You Get Fired for Calling in Sick in Florida?
The answer may surprise you! Yes, with a few exceptions. In this era dubbed the “Great Resignation”, you can resign without reason because the State of Florida is an at-will employment state.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Statistics, 314,000 Floridians quit their jobs in June of 2022.
But unfortunately, many employees are not planning a great escape and are often surprised when they are terminated while being sick.
Despite the fact that sick leave is often included in a benefits package, this is at the employer’s discretion.
There is no specific Florida state or federal law that enforces employers to provide paid or unpaid sick leave.
However, there are some exceptions to the rule. So if you’re still wondering, “Can you get fired for calling in sick in Florida,” here’s what you need to know.
Are You a Private or State Employee?
If you are employed by a private employer, check your company policy or employment contract for sick leave policies.
If you’re offered paid sick leave, there should be detailed information regarding how many sick days.
Also, private employers are not required to offer paid or unpaid sick leave. There is currently no labor law with these protections for at-will employment.
If you have any questions, call your human resources department to clarify their sick leave policies.
Now if you are a Florida state employee, you have more protections.
A sick leave benefits package that includes personal injury or illness is part of the benefit you are entitled to as an eligible employee.
Florida state employees needing more than 3 days off during a 30-day period need to provide a doctor’s note. Additionally, in the event that your sick leave will last for 10 consecutive days or more, a doctor’s note is required. These additional sick days – whether paid sick leave or not – will need to be approved.
Are You an At-Will Employee?
If you called in sick as required by your company’s policies, you may wonder if this was a wrongful termination.
Because Florida is an at-will state, your employer can fire you with no cause.
The inconvenience of being sick can have a devastating impact on your finances and well-being.
We understand getting terminated isn’t always as straightforward as it seems, if you are curious about filing an Employment Law claim, or have more questions, contact us today and schedule a free consultation.
Does Your Company Offer Sick Leave?
If you are employed by a company in Tampa or somewhere in Hillsborough County, check your employee handbook for sick leave information.
Your employee handbook or employment contract should note the company policy on sick days, worker’s compensation, and FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act) information.
If you don’t see information on sick days, FMLA, or ADA accommodations, make a phone call to your manager or human resources.
Recovering From A Work-Related Illness Or Injury
If you can prove a work-related injury, you are protected under worker’s compensation laws.
Your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance would have to ensure your medical treatment is taken care of as well as other benefits.
Worker’s Compensation benefits usually last up to 104 weeks. Florida’s Division of Workers Compensation (DWC) states an injured employee is entitled to
- Medical benefits
- Lost wages and other monetary compensation
- Death benefits to surviving family members
While you are being treated under workers’ compensation laws, your employer cannot terminate you.
Legal advice is always recommended if you have questions regarding workers’ compensation claims.
The Family And Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) may cover you if you are suffering from a severe illness or need to assist a family member during recovery.
Eligible employees include government employees and elementary and secondary school employees. Private employers must have more than 50 employees to offer FMLA to employees.
FMLA is a 12-week unpaid leave within a 12-month period. If your condition qualifies for FMLA, your healthcare provider may be able to advise you on your options.
Review your employee handbook or discuss FMLA leave with your human resources department.
As a Tampa law firm, we understand that employers may violate your employee rights under FMLA. Call us with your employment law questions. Our employment lawyers are available to help.
The Americans With Disabilities Act
According to the Department of Labor, your employer must provide reasonable accommodations if you are temporarily or permanently disabled.
If your employer fired you after refusing to accommodate you despite proper medical documentation, you may have a claim for wrongful termination.
Even if you are protected under the Americans with Disability Act (ADA), you are still an at-will employee. ADA protections are in place to help prevent discrimination.
The Department of Labor states a Florida employer has a legal right to terminate an employee with a disability for the following reasons:
- The termination is unrelated to the disability; or
- The employee does not meet legitimate requirements for the job, such as performance or production standards, with or without reasonable accommodation; or
- Because of the employee’s disability, he or she poses a direct threat to health or safety in the workplace.
Florida state laws, labor laws, legal rights, and employee rights matter.
It is also important to understand that no one is immune to being fired if they fail to follow production standards and company values.
Know Your Rights When Calling In Sick
Now that the question “Can you get fired for calling in sick in Florida?” is no longer a mystery, do you believe you were wrongfully terminated?
Whether you were denied reasonable accommodations because of your disability or you felt retaliated against, we are here to assist you.
Our experienced employment law attorneys will review your case and determine the best course of action for you.
We understand that this type of employment dispute is difficult, but we’re here to help you.