Single Status Update
Is it legal for an employer to penalize a worker for leaving early due to illness, even after the worker provides requested documentation?
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Yep, this company doesn't have a good reputation.
Sounds like the employers were arseholes. It would not be legal in NZ. If the regulations state that no penalisation is to be given in proven circumstances where you are, and the employer still does then that's illegal.
Hi! Just saw this... And yes, it is perfectly legal. Many states in the US are "at-will" employers, which means that an employee can literally be fired for any reason at all--even for no reason at all. Only a few situations are protected, and even then only in certain ways (usually requiring accommodation, like in the case of very religious employees who need certain days off). Particularly for low-wage jobs, workers get penalized for missing work on an occurrence-type system that gives workers a certain amount of leeway for missing work and then slams them hard for going over that limit. For example, if a worker is skating on the edge of that leeway and then gets strep throat, they may discover themselves fired even though strep throat is obviously a serious medical emergency.
I'd consult HR, but bear in mind that in the States, very few employers care how valid the absence is or care about doctors' notes. I'd also suggest looking into FMLA protection; it can be retroactively applied to cover longer absences (I used it when I got shingles some years back and my husband's used it to cover a week lost to strep throat.). The problem is that FMLA only applies to certain kinds of employees and has certain requirements that may make it impossible to gain its protections. Hope you're doing okay...