Can someone be terminated for leaving work with permission for a family emergency?

My fiance just came home and said he was fired because he left work early one day(with permission from the vet he works for) because our one month old son needed to go to the Emergency room. They also said he didn’t properly request time off when i was supposed to be induced when he requested it off a month in advance, and they gave him that week off, and the week after without him asking. They kept taking hours from only him, and he was the only male working there.

Asked on July 23, 2010 under Employment Labor Law, Texas


MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Sounds like your fiance may have a concern with an unfair labor practice.  You need to consider the following.  Did your fiance work for this company/veternarian for more than one year and if so, was the company large enough to be required to comply with FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act).  If so, then your fiance should not have been fired and he should consider filing a labor complaint and suing.  Next up, in terms of getting time off, if he received an okay to get time off, and now they are complaining, they may have extinguished their right to complain regarding such mattr.  Next is the issue with the emergency. If he took time to handle an emergency (for his son), then his employer may not be allowed to fire him for such an issue.  On the flip side, most states are considered employment at all absent certain exceptions and exemptions.  This means generally your fiance can be fired with or without cause without notice.  He should consider at least consulting with a labor lawyer in your state to determine based on his meeting, whether he indeed has a case or not.

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