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Employees in Ontario are entitled to a minimum of three (3) personal illness days per calendar year under the Employment Standards Act. Employers must accommodate their employees’ needs to take sick leave and cannot fire an employee for requesting or using the days.

Beyond employment standards, the Human Rights Code applies and requires an employer to provide sufficient leave to the employee as may be medically required, unless to do so would cause the employer ‘undue hardship’. Proving ‘undue hardship’ is, however, difficult and requires an employer to prove that they have done everything they can to support the employee and that any further support would result in significant difficulty and/or expense to the employer. For this reason, an employer is at serious risk of a human rights claim if they fire an employee for exercising their legal right to take sick leave. Furthermore, it is important to note that, while an employer cannot fire you for taking too many sick days, they may terminate your employment while you are on sick leave, provided that the reasons for termination are unrelated to the illness. It is strongly advised that employees should seek legal advice in any circumstance involving negative treatment, including being fired, in relation to a leave of absence for illness.

For further details to determine entitlement in your specific case contact a reliable and well-informed employment lawyer. If you believe your termination is a reprisal for taking a medical leave and are seeking legal advice with respect to possible remedies, please contact Toronto employment lawyers, Sultan Lawyers at 416-214-5111 or via email to mlahert@sultanlawyers.com.