If I used sick day over a tragedy at home and was fired, wa this wrongful termination?

Used sick day over tragedy at home. Was harassed to quit and demoted. They said they don’t offer pet bereavement days. Next day fired. Family and I were dealing with mental anguish through this. Been there 2 years still had sick days left and never a verbal or written warning.

Asked on July 13, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Massachusetts


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

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

The fact is that sick days, vaction time, PTO, etc need not be provided by an employer. Therefore, to the extent that they are provided, an employer can state just when and why such time my be taken. So if pet bereavement did not fall within the definition of "sick days"as per your employer, you were not entitled to take them for that reason. Additionally, if you were an "at will" employee, you could have been fired for this reason (or for no reason at all).

Accordingly, unless this action violated specific company policy or the terms of either a union contract or employment agreement, I'm afraid that you do not have a case for lawful termination; your employer had the right to set the terms and conditions of your employment much as it saw fit (absent some form of actionable discrimination).

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