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Jupitermynx

Wrongful Termination?

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I was recently terminated from my job for excessive absences. At the time I was covered by intermittent FMLA but had received a final written warning on 8/6/09 due to exceeding my number of excused absences per month. I hadn't yet missed more days than I was excused from in the month of August, though. My immediate supervisor (who did the writing up) advised me, at that time, that any absences I'd had prior to the final warning date wouldn't be held against me again. I then missed 8/11/09 & 8/12/09, still not exceeding more days than I was allotted per month, yet I was then told all of my absences over the previous year had prompted them to fire me. Now, I understand the Final Warning meant that if I broke the rule again they would have grounds for termination, but if based on the Family Medical Leave Act I was allowed those absences in August, was my firing legitimate? Approximately 3 weeks from the date I was fired, my department was going to be laid off and I would have received 2 months severance pay and medical benefits. I believe they didn't want to pay me those benefits and were looking for any excuse they could find to get rid of me before the lay off. I may be incorrect and they were allowed to fire me without cause, but because I can't afford a lawyer to sue them for wrongful termination, regardless, my biggest concern is that I will not qualify for Unemployment. Can anyone attest to the rules in that aspect or will I just have to wait for their verdict? Thank you.

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If the absences are covered under FMLA, then the employer's not entitled to fire you because of excessive absences. (They'd be free to fire you for other reasons, e.g., a layoff or otherwise poor performance, etc.)

I see no reason why you won't qualify for unemployment if you make sure to cover the relevant info on the claim form vs. being vague (even if that means you have to say "See Attachment 1" on the claim form if there's no room for explanation or a check box arrangement). Hopefully, the employer won't be making up anything it cannot back up.

Discuss with federal DOL. (You won't need to be able to afford an attorney if there's an actual case here, since employer attorneys who pursue such cases don't expect the worker to be able to afford anything; they go after attorney fees in the case.)

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