As stated in the title, one of my coworkers is rarely in the office due to medical reasons. They do sometimes log on from home if they're feeling up to it, but their actual time spent in the office itself is maybe a third of the year. This coworker is also one of our support staff, and thus is somewhat important and it affects everyone else when he's absent.

I can tell my manager is getting sick and tired of the situation and I know that firing this guy would be a slippery slope due to his condition. Is there potentially a reason in which this guy could be let go without it turning into a legal matter?

I ask because it seems like a lot of my other coworkers are getting tired of this as well. But I realize this isn't really my business and is something my manager will have to take care of. My question is out of curiousity.

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    (US perspective) I don't know whether they can be fired or not, but they can certainly not be paid. If your coworker has used up all of their leave time, they could be put on Leave Without Pay status, assuming that's built into the contract. I have a friend who works for the federal government in a similar situation. This could potentially give your boss opportunity to hire someone else part-time to fill in the gaps. – David K May 5 '17 at 13:03
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    @PhilipKendall I'm afraid this one indeed should be common knowledge for an HR manager - absences for medical reasons are majority of unplanned absences, after all (or so I believe). – Mołot May 5 '17 at 13:04
  • To clarify, I'm not an HR manager within my company I'm just one of the developers. @DavidK yes this is the correct tag, thank you for adding it. – Ryguy May 5 '17 at 13:26
  • The short answer is yes they can be, but it may not be in your companies interest to do so. It is also possible(probably likely) that you do not know the whole story. My mother was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer a year ago. She had already used all of her FMLA but her company kept her as an employee until she passed and even paid her. Why? Because firing someone who is going to be dead in 3 months from brain cancer looks really really bad. – IDrinkandIKnowThings May 5 '17 at 14:49
  • Final close vote cast. The main question in addition to being wildly unethical, unprofessional, and fraught with potential problems is a legal one that we can't really answer here. The hypothetical nature also makes this rather off-topic if you still word the situation from the coworker perspective. – Lilienthal May 5 '17 at 15:07

I don't know if he can be fired (legally) but he probably can and eventually will be laid off. Being laid off is not the same as being fired, legally speaking.

In Canada, they'd have to give him 8 weeks notice of a lay off, or severance in lieu of notice for the difference between 8 weeks and the number of weeks notice they actually give him. Also, it would look better on his resume going forward.

I've been laid off in the past because the company I worked for decided to outsource our department. "Sorry, we found someone cheaper in another country" definitely wouldn't fly as a reason to fire someone, but with proper notice and/or severance pay, it's perfectly acceptable as a reason to lay someone off. In the case of someone who can't work due to a medical disability, I would expect there are certain guidelines about how poor their performance needs to be before they can get laid off (otherwise laws protecting these people would be worthless,) but I don't know exactly how bad it needs to get by Canadian law.

I mean, there must be some recourse for employers in the case where an employee becomes physically unable to do the job they were hired to do, through no fault of their own. A bus driver who gets paralyzed below the waist can't expect to be kept on as a driver just because he refuses to quit and hasn't done anything to justify being fired. (He might reasonably be transferred to a desk job, I suppose.)

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  • In the US, it's short, and long term disability. – Old_Lamplighter May 5 '17 at 13:47
  • I wouldn't be surprised if they could outfit a bus to be driven w/o legs. – Joshua Oct 11 '17 at 2:07

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