Do policies not listed in the employee handbook count?

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Do policies not listed in the employee handbook count?

I have worked at my current job for 10 months and in the beginning of my employment there i had an absence issue. The employee handbook states that any absences after 5 can result in termination – currently I have 5 so I am not permitted to call off of work. Today I was very ill and went into work and worked as long as I could and then told my supervisor that I was ill and needed to go home. I was advised that If i were to leave prior to 3/4 of my shift that this would be considered an absence. What I am wondering is – if this is not listed in the employee handbook is it fair and legal?

Asked on August 8, 2010 under Employment Labor Law, New York

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Employee handbooks can be a blessing or a curse depending.  New York is an "at will" employment state, meaning that you can be fired for any legal reason.  Sometimes employee handbooks are looked at as "contracts" between parties but such a limitation can also be placed upon the handbook by the employer by indicating in the book that it does not change the status of "at will" employment. Your question, however, takes on a different issue.  New York law requires that an employer notify its employees, in writing or by public posting, of the employer's policy on sick leave, vacation, personal leave and holiday hours and pay. What your argument here is is that the writing in the handbook dos not fully state the policy.  Whether or not this is a violation that rises to the status of "illegality" is best answered by an attorney in the field or at the very least by inquiry to the Department of Labor.  Call them and find out what your options are.  Good luck.


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