What To Do When You are Sick
Absenteeism is one of the main reasons that workers are discharged from their employment. If you are chronically absent from work, there is a good argument that you are not performing your job duties.
You are not likely to be fired for being sick, but you are definitely at risk of losing your job if you do not show up for work. Some absenteeism may be allowed and some may amount to misconduct. Dismissal for misconduct means you cannot collect unemployment benefits.
If you can be fired for missing work while you were sick yet still collect unemployment, where is the line?
When you are sick, you don’t want to infect people around you at work and you don’t want your own health to suffer. Yet excessive and chronic absenteeism has been consistently held to be misconduct when the absences are without justifiable cause, timely notification to the employer and without employer permission.
The purpose of unemployment benefits is to take care of a person who is separated from work through no fault of their own. Illness falls into that category. An employer can request a doctor’s note or other substantiating evidence of illness. And if the employer requests it, the employee must provide that.
It has been consistently held that while illness gives an employer the right to terminate employment, it does not constitute misconduct and thus is not a bar to benefits. (Vester v. Board of Review of Oklahoma Employment Sec.Com’n., 697 P2d 533 (Okla. 1985).) In other words, if you are sick and miss work, your boss can fire you, but your boss cannot preclude you from getting benefits as long as you qualify otherwise.
Other Factors in Qualifying For Benefits
In order to qualify for benefits, you need to have worked enough. Oklahoma law states that no one can receive benefits unless, in the preceding year, they have worked and earned wages in an amount equal to at least 10 times the person’s weekly benefit amount in the current year. Okla. Stat. 40 § 2-109.
Oklahoma looks at a one-year base employment period to determine benefit amounts. Oklahoma looks at quarters. The base period is the earliest 4 of the 5 complete calendar quarters before the filing of a benefits claim. In Oklahoma, you must have earned at least $1500 during your base period and you must have earned at least 1.5 times your earnings in the highest quarter of the period you are using. However, if you have made $20,100 or more taxable base period earnings, you will be eligible even if all of your earnings were from one quarter.
You must also be available and able to work. If your illness is such that you cannot return to work or cannot seek work, you will not be eligible for Oklahoma unemployment benefits.
Benefits Will Be Denied If Your Do Not Adhere to Requirements
Benefits were denied in a case in which an employee failed to follow company attendance policy by not calling in his absence. The claimaint also failed to submit a medical statement to support the absence as was required by company policy. His actions were deemed to be in willful disregard of the employer’s interests. (Tynes v. Uniroyal Tire Co. et al., 679 P2d 1310 (Okla. App. 1984);90 AT 4805 BR)
If you have questions concerning your situation, bring them to an experienced Oklahoma unemployment benefits lawyer who can answer your questions and protect your benefits.
Free Legal Consultation: Oklahoma Unemployment Lawyer
To set up your free consultation with the Oklahoma Unemployment Experts attorney’s office, call (918) 923-3776, or click the button below to sign up for a no-obligation Oklahoma unemployment consultation now.