Can I be written up for being late to work after coming in from a funeral?

I started this job 2 months ago; I’m a vet technician for a private veterinarian hospital. I got word of my aunt passing last week. The wake and funeral took place on Sunday and Monday, 08/12 and 08/13. As soon I noticed that I wouldn’t make it to work on time, I called and let my employer know. I could tell that they were annoyed and simply told me to go home. I don’t work on Tuesdays so that was my first day back. After dealing with their not so subtle annoyances with me from asking questions, I decided to speak up and remind them that I was still new and learning. After I did, they pulled me into the office to write me up for being late on Monday. To me this seems ridiculously unfair and cruel. Is this legal?

Asked on August 15, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, New York

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

Unless you had vacation time or PTO to cover your absence, you could in fact be written up by your employer unless you were afforded protection from this action under the terms of a union agreement or an employment contract. Otherwise, as an "at will" worker your company can set the conditions of the workplace much as it sees fit (absent some form of legally actionable discrimination).


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