Know your employer’s sick leave policy. Most employers require that you call in as soon as you know you won’t make it. No law requires paid sick leave.
Family and Medical Leave: applies if you have a serious medical condition and need several days off, or need intermittent leave for treatment.
Accommodations: if you have an illness that qualifies as a disability, you might be entitled to accommodations that will enable you to perform all the duties of your job.
Excessive absenteeism: unless you qualify for FMLA leave or have a disability for which you are seeking accommodations, your employer can fire you for any reason, including absenteeism. Know what they consider excessive. If you have to come to work sick, that’s better than losing your job.
a. Lots of people express surprise that they were fired after being sick. “But I had a doctor’s note!” they say. A doctor’s note won’t help you unless you qualify for FMLA leave or an ADA accommodation. 90% of life is just showing up. (Woody Allen). Your employer is entitled to have you at work.
b. If you are contagious, then your employer requiring you to come in anyhow might be an OSHA violation. You can point this out, but don’t be insubordinate.
c. If ordered to come in, then rent a stretcher if you have to. Unless going to work endangers your life, comply with the boss’s order to come to work. Appeal to HR if you can, but don’t lose your job.
Have a general question about employment law? Want to share a story? I welcome all comments and questions. I can't give legal advice here about specific situations but will be glad to discuss general issues and try to point you in the right direction. If you need legal advice, contact an employment lawyer in your state. Remember, anything you post here will be seen publicly, and I will comment publicly on it. It will not be confidential. Govern yourself accordingly.