When Can I Fire an Employee on Medical or Pregnancy Leave?

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One of the questions that clients ask me most often is, “________ is out on a medical/pregnancy leave (or just returned); can we fire him/her?”

My response, always: “Why?”

There are several reasons why you might need to fire an employee who is absent from work on, or just returned from, an otherwise FMLA or ADA protected leave.

While picking up the absent employee’s work, you discover he or she was not doing his or her job. You uncover misconduct committed by the employee (fraud, theft, etc.). You need to reduce headcount or eliminate the employee’s position.

Thus, my answer is always

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