"Job abandonment" is a term of art employers often use to justify firing employees. But your statement does not coincide with your heading about reporting discrimination and being fired the next day. If the motivating reason for being fired is for reported unlawful discrimination, which may not necessarily include informing your employer you are at the doctor's office, it may be illegal. But more details are needed to understand whether you have a basis for a case. Your can best do this by consulting with experienced employment law counsel in your area, for an informed legal opinion and advice.
They say you get what you pay for, and this response is free, so take it for what it is worth. This is my opinion based on very limited information. My opinion should not be taken as legal advice. For true advice, we would require a confidential consultation where I would ask you questions and get your complete story. This is a public forum, so remember, nothing here is confidential. Nor am I your attorney. I do not know who you are and you have not hired me to provide any legal service. To do so would require us to meet and sign written retainer agreement. My responses are intended for general information only.
I agree with esteemed counsel's opinion. It sounds like the employer is retaliating against you for alleging workplace discrimination, which is illegal. So, if the discrimination is proven and the retaliation is proven, then the employer has done two illegal things. One issue may be what the employment handbook says. Does the handbook have a certain policy regarding taking off of work for doctor's visits? Were you supposed to give a certain amount of notice before taking off? This may be an issue with regard to proving portions of your case, but I think if you feel like you have discriminated against and you can prove it, then you probably have a case. Good luck to you.
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The most important piece of information needed to decide if you have a case or not has been left out of your post. There are many kinds of discrimination in the workplace that are not unlawful. Reporting discrimination that is not unlawful discrimination has no legal protection if you are retaliated against.
Discrimination is simply being treated differently from someone. This happens all the time at work. Unlawful discrimination is if you are being treated differently from someone else BECAUSE you are a member of a protected class of people, and that different treatment results in an adverse employment action. All other forms of being treated differently are perfectly legal and reporting them will provide you legal protection.
If you did complain about unlawful discrimination and you can prove that you were fired the next day in retaliation for that complaint, then you may have a case for unlawful retaliation.
The fact that you called in sick is not job abandonment, assuming you can prove you called in, and assuming you can prove you were temporarily disabled from performing work that day. A doctor's note from your visit that day would be good evidence of that.
Your post introduces several factually intensive issues: discrimination, retaliation and possible disability discrimination. Your best course of conduct would be to locate and consult with an experienced employment law attorney as soon as possible to explore your facts and determine your options. I would suggest you look either on this site in the Find a Lawyer section, or go to www.cela.org, the home page for the California Employment Lawyers Association, an organization whose members are dedicated to the representation of employees against their employers.
Good luck to you.
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