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Old 12.03.2011, 10:54
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Fired while sick

I have heard that it is possible and legal that you can be fired from a job while on sick leave and that the contract can be terminated before the normal notice period.

Is this some sort of urban myth? It sounds a bit strange to me. Surely the employer would have to respect your notice period
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Old 12.03.2011, 12:13
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Re: Fired while sick

On this official Site, it says this:

Kündigungsschutz: In folgenden Fällen darf Angestellten nicht gekündigt werden:
  • Bei ganzer oder teilweiser Arbeitsunfähigkeit nach unverschuldetem Unfall oder Krankheit. Im 1. Dienstjahr gilt dieser Kündigungsschutz für 30 Tage, bis zum 5. Dienstjahr 90 Tage, ab dem 6. Dienstjahr 180 Tage.
Kündigungen innerhalb dieser Sperrfristen sind ungültig, sie müssen nach Ablauf wiederholt werden. Fällt eine dieser Sperrgründe in die Kündigungsfrist, wird sie entsprechend verlängert...

Rough translation: By an inability to work due to sickness or an accident (through no fault of your own), protection from being given notice is for 30 days during the first year, up to the 5th year of work 90 days and from the 6th year of employment 180 days. Notice given during this time is invalid and must be repeated. If an illness falls during the notice period, the notice period is extended.

For the other part of the question, maybe we need a bit more detail. It might fall under this bit:

Kündigung: Ein Arbeitsvertrag ist grundsätzlich jederzeit, von beiden Seiten und ohne triftige Gründe kündbar. Nach Ablauf der Probezeit gelten gemäss OR folgende Kündigungsfristen: 1 Monat im 1. Dienstjahr, 2 Monate vom 2. bis zum 9. Dienstjahr, 3 Monate ab dem 10. Dienstjahr. Allerdings können diese Kündigungsfristen in einem Arbeitsvertrag abgeändert werden. Die Kündigung wird erst dann wirksam, wenn sie der Empfänger erhalten hat.
Befristete Arbeitsverträge enden ohne Kündigung auf den vertraglich abgemachten Zeitpunkt. Eine vorzeitige ordentliche Kündigung ist ausgeschlossen, sofern sie nicht ausdrücklich vertraglich vorgesehen ist. Arbeitgeber und Arbeitnehmer haben aber das Recht, den befristeten Vertrag bei Vorliegen wichtiger Gründe fristlos zu kündigen.

but there is not point in me translating all that, only to hear that there is some info we haven't heard yet. (Once bitten, twice shy!)
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Old 12.03.2011, 13:56
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Re: Fired while sick

I was fired while I was in hospital...

My contract was also terminated before the end of the notice period, but that was by mutual agreement - due to various circumstances it would have been impossible for me to return to work should I have recovered before the end of my notice period.

So I'd say it's legal...
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Old 12.03.2011, 14:25
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Re: Fired while sick

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I have heard that it is possible and legal that you can be fired from a job while on sick leave and that the contract can be terminated before the normal notice period.

Is this some sort of urban myth? It sounds a bit strange to me. Surely the employer would have to respect your notice period
The employer has to respect your notice period, and he cannot fire you
when you are sick. When you come back, that is a different story.

You as a worker have to provide documentation that you are sick.

Usually you have to give a doctor's notice if you are out for 3days.
This varies by company though.
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Old 12.03.2011, 15:32
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Re: Fired while sick

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I was fired while I was in hospital...

My contract was also terminated before the end of the notice period, but that was by mutual agreement - due to various circumstances it would have been impossible for me to return to work should I have recovered before the end of my notice period.

So I'd say it's legal...
Just because a company does it to you does not mean it is legal.

A company refused to pay my wages. It is illegal. They did it anyway. So I sued them and won.

Don't underestimate the number of illegal acts by companies in Switzerland. Just because they're swiss doesn't mean they act "more legally" than any other random company in any other random part of the world.
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Old 12.03.2011, 16:10
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Re: Fired while sick

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I was fired while I was in hospital...

My contract was also terminated before the end of the notice period, but that was by mutual agreement - due to various circumstances it would have been impossible for me to return to work should I have recovered before the end of my notice period.

So I'd say it's legal...
This is why I said that we needed more details. There are a few exceptions but it is useless translating half the 'Arbeitsrecht' only to find that this isn't what the OP meant. Working in a new place, still in the 'test phase', doing something exceptional which called for instant dismissal... a clause in the Work Contract... there is plenty of 'small print'.
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Old 12.03.2011, 16:38
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Re: Fired while sick

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Just because a company does it to you does not mean it is legal.

A company refused to pay my wages. It is illegal. They did it anyway. So I sued them and won.

Don't underestimate the number of illegal acts by companies in Switzerland. Just because they're swiss doesn't mean they act "more legally" than any other random company in any other random part of the world.
Just to clarify... I was working in a pre-school, I had a recurrence of depression and ended up in a psychiatric hospital... which put employer in difficult position because they had no person-in-charge, and the body that regulates pre-schools said I should never have been employed because I had a history of mental health problems. I had got a medical certificate from a doctor before I started work stating I was fit to work in a pre-school, and I was very open with that doctor (explained history, told her I thought it was partly situational depression and that if I could just get out of bad environment back in UK would feel better etc.). When employer contacted this doctor and said 'Why did you give V a medical certificate with her medical history?' this doctor lied and claimed that I'd never mentioned my depression to her. Put the employers in a very difficult position, to say the least... and whose going to believe the girl on the psychiatric ward over a doctor?

I'd also like to say I don't have any hard feelings, my ex-employers are good friends of mine and I understand why they acted the way they did. Still pretty mad at that doctor though.
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Old 19.03.2011, 10:37
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Re: Fired while sick

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The employer has to respect your notice period, and he cannot fire you
when you are sick. When you come back, that is a different story.

You as a worker have to provide documentation that you are sick.

Usually you have to give a doctor's notice if you are out for 3days.
This varies by company though.
Being fired while off sick (with doctors certificate) happened to my wife last year BUT they did respect her notice period and she was paid for that.

I will point out that it was not a Swiss company over here so they probably thought it was legal
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Old 19.03.2011, 10:39
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Re: Fired while sick

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I was fired while I was in hospital...

My contract was also terminated before the end of the notice period, but that was by mutual agreement - due to various circumstances it would have been impossible for me to return to work should I have recovered before the end of my notice period.

So I'd say it's legal...
I think the important part is that it was by mutual agreement
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Old 19.03.2011, 10:42
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Re: Fired while sick

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This is why I said that we needed more details. There are a few exceptions but it is useless translating half the 'Arbeitsrecht' only to find that this isn't what the OP meant. Working in a new place, still in the 'test phase', doing something exceptional which called for instant dismissal... a clause in the Work Contract... there is plenty of 'small print'.
I was trying to find out my rights - I am not in a probabtionary period or anything like that and my wife's experience (see another reply in this thread) seemed both illegal and legal
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Old 19.03.2011, 11:03
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Re: Fired while sick

Did you lie on your application for the job (or even omit something rather than lie outright)? Did you give permission to your employer to talk to your doctor about this issue?
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Old 19.03.2011, 12:10
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Re: Fired while sick

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Just to clarify... I was working in a pre-school, I had a recurrence of depression and ended up in a psychiatric hospital... which put employer in difficult position because they had no person-in-charge, and the body that regulates pre-schools said I should never have been employed because I had a history of mental health problems. I had got a medical certificate from a doctor before I started work stating I was fit to work in a pre-school, and I was very open with that doctor (explained history, told her I thought it was partly situational depression and that if I could just get out of bad environment back in UK would feel better etc.). When employer contacted this doctor and said 'Why did you give V a medical certificate with her medical history?' this doctor lied and claimed that I'd never mentioned my depression to her. Put the employers in a very difficult position, to say the least... and whose going to believe the girl on the psychiatric ward over a doctor?

I'd also like to say I don't have any hard feelings, my ex-employers are good friends of mine and I understand why they acted the way they did. Still pretty mad at that doctor though.
The doctor should have been honest from the start- but it would have resulted in you NOT getting the job in the first place. Difficult to say without knowing more detail, but probably the Doctor said you were fit to do the job as s/he truly wanted you to have the chance to have a fresh start, and was aware that a mention of previous depression would result in you being turned down. It very sadly backfired. Hope you get better soon and you get given another chance.
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