When A Medical Emergency Becomes An HR Emergency

, , , , , | Working | October 1, 2019

(I’m working and end up going to the ER in massive pain. I’m there until about 2:00 am, so they tell me to stay home an extra day and give me some restrictions on what I can do. Even with the restrictions, I can still easily do my job. I go home, get some rest, and call work the next morning.)

Me: “Hey, it’s [My Name], the hospital wants me resting for another day—”

Manager: “Okay, if you miss today, you’re fired.”

Me: “What?!”

Manager: “You can’t just call out because you’re tired. If you don’t show up you’re fired.”

(I know it’s not legal. I stay home and come back in the next day with notes detailing that I was instructed to stay home the day before and the restrictions for when I do return. My manager sees me going in and glares at me.)

Manager: “Leave. I told you if you didn’t come in—”

Me: “Yes, but you cannot fire me for a medical emergency.”

Manager: “Yes, I can! I’m your boss!”

Me: “You might be, but the law says you can’t.”

Manager: “What law? You’re making this up. Get out of here.”

(I end up standing outside and calling corporate. They tell me to stay nearby, and they’ll call the district manager. Not half an hour later, I see her drive up and go into the store. Ten minutes after that, I get a call.)

District Manager: “[My Name], come on in and come to the office.”

(I go in. The manager looks furious. I sit down.)

District Manager: “I’ve explained to [Manager] that it’s very illegal to fire someone for having a medical emergency or a medical issue. You are not fired. Are you able to work today?”

Me: “I should be. But they also put me under restriction—”

Manager: “SEE?! WE CAN’T HAVE HER WORK! SHE CAN’T DO ANYTHING BECAUSE OF F****** RESTRICTIONS!”

District Manager: “Can I see the list?”

(I hand it over. She reads it out loud. My manager is giving me a smug look.)

District Manager: “This only prevents her from doing a couple of things that pretty much the entire rest of the store can do. This won’t affect her ability to do her job at all.”

Manager: “Yeah, but I can fire her for not being able to do everything!”

District Manager: *pause* “[My Name], take today off, as well. I’ll arrange for some paid sick leave.”

(The manager ended up being fired, especially when it turned out she was writing up people for calling out sick and threatening to fire people if they missed more than one day in a row.)

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