I was fired because of my health

Dear Evil HR Lady,

In May I resigned from a job that I had held for nine years to take a new position at a small, private company. I wanted to finally work in the area where I have a Master’s Degree, and this new job was going to offer me this — or so I thought.


When I arrived at my new employer, I discovered that there was a change in staffing and I was going to be working in a different department. Obviously I was extremely disappointed, but my old job had already been filled (someone from another shift took it).

As my probationary period continued at the new place, things continued to get worse, as I discovered that my manager was verbally abusive and I was given no training guidance. My new co-workers warned me that this was the way this company worked and that there was a huge turnover at this position. Despite all of this, the company was pleased with my work and said I was doing well. Then I became ill and ended up in the ER on three separate occasions and was told that I would require surgery. I submitted doctor’s notes for each day that I was off due to this health issue. I emailed my director and spoke privately with her to explain that I was concerned about my absences during probation and that I did not want this to adversely affect me. She assured me that “life happens” and that it was fine.

I even had a one-on-one meeting with her and the manager about my progress and was provided goals to obtain for the next six months. Three days before my 90-day probationary ended (and 10 days after that meeting), I went to the director’s office to notify her that I was going to need surgery. The surgery would require three to five days off and would be scheduled in the next couple of weeks. The director told me to sit down and called in HR. HR arrived with a termination package for me, and I was terminated. I was not provided a reason on the termination. HR just said it was “not a good fit,” and the director said my work was great but that the absences were excessive and that it was not fair to the other employees.

This is the first time I have ever been terminated. I do not know how, or if, I should put this on my resume and how to explain it to potential employers. Ironically, I was already applying for other jobs and was hoping not to be at this company very long due to the negative environment and misrepresentation of the job. So what do I tell potential employers? Do I put this job on my resume? (I already had the surgery, so the health issue is already resolved.)


To keep reading, click here: I was fired because of my  health

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5 thoughts on “I was fired because of my health

  1. Even though you were a fairly new employee (and therefore did not qualify for FMLA leave) I would consider hiring an attorney for an hour (many will review a potential case for free) to review the facts of your situation as to whether a possible basis exists for a lawsuit for failure to accommodate a disability (violation of the ADA –Americans with Disabilities Act), retaliation and wrongful termination, just off the top of my head. If you live in CA or NJ, you could also qualify for state disability insurance benefits if you were out more than 7 calendar days, even if you were let go before you had surgery. This employer sounds like a real gem. Chances are they may have stiffed you in other ways as well. A good plaintiffs’ attorney will review your pay stub, your vacation payout, everything to make sure you weren’t stung on those fronts, as well.

  2. I should say that I agree with Suzannethat it’s possible the health problem resolved by surgery didn’t qualify as a disability under the ADA, but based on the facts in the piece above, I wasn’t sure her impairment didn’t last at least 6 months total.

  3. Suzanne gave good advice here. Be honest about the job and mention the surgery but not the political nightmare. Never badmouth a former employer.

  4. Hi,
    A situation like this does come up at times and cannot necessarily blame the management of the company. Having said that, I suggest that on the basis of your merit and analysis of the Industry, find a job early. This would give you your stability and also your performance may get you noticed again in the eyes of your previous employer.

  5. I don’t understand her ‘misstep’. Was there something she could have done differently?

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