Are You One Cold (Or Super Bowl Flu) Away From Being Fired?

cold  allergy  flu
Shutterstock


It's cold and flu season, so you may be sick right now. It's likely you'll be sick at some point this year. Maybe you'll suffer from Super Bowl flu on Monday after too much partying on Sunday (or your boss will assume you partied too much if you call in sick Monday).

So what are your rights? Can you be fired for being out sick? What if you have a doctor's note? Connecticut and six cities (Jersey City, NJ; New York City; Portland, OR; San Francisco, CA; Seattle, WA; and Washington, DC) have paid sick leave laws. Nebraska and California legislators recently introduced bills to require employers to give paid sick leave. If you don't live in any of these places, you could possibly be out of luck.

There's federal legislation pending, called the FAMILY Act, that would grant paid sick leave nationwide, but I wouldn't hold my breath that it will pass anytime soon. Under current law, whether you can be fired for being out sick depends on how long you've been employed, how many employees your company has, and how sick you are.