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Fired for no doctor’s note means no unemployment

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in Human Resources

Employees terminated for refusing to abide by reasonable work rules aren’t eligible for unemployment compensation. But what constitutes a reasonable rule depends on the circumstances.

Recent case: Last year, during the height of the H1N1 flu pandemic, security guard Billy Johnson was out sick with bronchitis and a fever. His supervisor requested a doctor’s note clearing Johnson for work and certifying he didn’t have H1N1. When Johnson failed to provide the note, he was terminated.

Johnson sued for benefits, arguing the doctor’s note requirement was unreasonable.

The court disagreed, reasoning that during last year’s flu scare, requiring a note was reasonable, especially for employees with close contact with the public. (Johnson v. North Country Security, No. A10-353, Court of Appeals of Minnesota, 2010)

Final note: During epidemics or pandemics, follow Centers for Disease Control recommendations.

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