Wrongful termination/Disabled child
Posted 13 February 2013 - 10:22 AM
My daughter , who has disabilities had fallen ill on 2 / 5 / 2013 . Our policy at work has always been to call someone in to cover your shift if you need to be off . Its written in red ink on the schedule. I called another employee in , and sent word to my job about what was happening . The following days were my days off : 2 / 6 / 2013 - 2 / 7 / 2013 . I have had this schedule for over 20 years and been at the job for 35 years . EVERYONE knows about my daughter's disabilities and the hardships we've faced . We even had to fight for her rights to be in school because the school had been trying to take her out . We had to take our case all the way to school board. My daughter’s disabilities are serious for her and my family and nobody seems to care from the school system and now my job. However , even after complying with the rules by calling , and having another employee take my shift I WAS TERMINATED on 2 / 8 / 2013 after 35 years of service . Than to add insult in the wee hours of 2 / 9 / 2013 the day AFTER I was fired around 4 : 30am I awoke to my daughter who has the disabilities unconscious . I screamed and 9 - 11 was called and she had been admitted to the hospital after suffering 2 seizures , strep throat , low calcium levels , high fever all combined . Her illness had progressed to a much more extreme stage. She was just released on 2 / 12 / 2013 which was my birthday of all days . This situations has taken an emotional toll on my family and I'm over - come with my situation and feel like I was wrongfully terminated and the fact that my daughter has disabilities was not taken into account . The day that I had taken off to care for her was an off season , with eligible workers there , one with 9 years’ experience and another with 20 along with a guy who also knew what to do . The seasonal production was not affected because it was not our season . There were 4 people initially on , including the woman I called in for me , and the business was so slow they sent someone home and did it with 3 . SO my absence was not a deter in business or an issue for the staff . I feel like I was wrongfully terminated and I need advice on what to do next ? I know there are a lot of scts protecting parents with disabled children. i was just wondering if anyone has had a similar case or if anyone had any advice?
Just an add on*
also we don't have an employee handbook. Our policy has always been you find someone to work for you if you can't come in. Its been that way for 30 years. Also many of the other employees have taken the same route I did. Calling someone to come in, and work for them and there weren't an repercussions. Just to add this, the general manager, is a army man. He almost refuses to hire women. All of our new staff are males. Women have come through with better credentials than a lot of their male counter parts and were not offered the job. I'm an older woman, and the 3 women who are there have been there 7 plus years before he came on board in 2011. Since 2011 he's hired 2 girls, both whom are no longer employed there. One who he treated terribly, called her names, told her she was useless, and intimidated her into crying and quitting. Since 2011 he's hired about 15 guys. He seems very sexist and since he's an army man its becoming more evident.
Posted 13 February 2013 - 10:57 AM
Sorry to hear about your situation. Was a reason given for your termination? You may want to visit the Employment Law Center and read Losing a Job as a good resource about this subject matter and your rights.
The reason he claims is because "I didn't call". However that is not in our policy. The policy doesn't say "You have to call the manager and get someone to work". It says
"IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO FIND SOMEONE WHO WILL WORK FOR YOU, IF YOU CAN'T THAN YOU MUST COVER YOUR SHIFT"
Everyone there has done this. In fact nobody calls anyone except the person whom is coming in their place. I've been there over 30 years and the policy hasn't changed and IF it had, he never told anyone or wrote it down, or had a staff meeting talking about the changes. All of the staff does this, including him. He calls only the person he needs to work for him, or we shoot text messages to one another.
Its a multi-million dollar business on an affluent island. I live on the island and I've always been available when his children fell ill, he'd call me to cover for him and I'd come in. I'm just not understanding why wasn't my time I needed to care for my daughter taken into account? Also he knew of her disabilites, and all of her surgeries.
Posted 13 February 2013 - 11:32 AM
We can't know from here whether your employer is subject to FMLA and whether you were eligible even if he is. That's the only relevant law as to why an employer might have to "take into account" your daughter's situation (an employer isn't required to be concerned about her disabilities except as it relates to FMLA).
Ultimately, whatever policy may be and how employer departed from it only really matters as it relates to an argument over unemployment benefits. And, just as ultimately, an employer's free to decide to end a relationship if there's no contract saying otherwise, even after 35 years.
Employers are not required to have a handbook, or set policies for that matter.
File for unemployment.
I'll echo PG's advisory "warning" with a twist: (Many) legal issues are complicated. Explanations and comments here might not fully identify or explain the ramifications of your particular problem. I do not give legal advice as such (and such is impermissible here at any rate). Comments are based on personal knowledge and experience and legal info gleaned over a quarter century, and every state has differing laws on and avenues to address most topics. If you need legal advice, you need to consult (and pay) a professional so that you may have someone to hold accountable. Acting on personal and informational advice from a stranger on the internet is a bad idea -- at least not without your own thorough due dilience/research and confirmation as it applies to your situation.
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